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The Met issues statement on James Levine

December 3, 2017 by norman lebrecht

36 comments.


Following the allegation of sexual molestation by its former music director that were published last night by the New York Post, the Met has issued this advisory:

The Met would like to let our supporters know that we are deeply disturbed by the news articles that are being published online today about James Levine. We are working on an investigation with outside resources to determine whether charges of sexual misconduct in the 1980s are true, so that we can take appropriate action.

 


Comments (36)

  1. William Osborne says:

    The NYT reports about the Met’s investigation here:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/arts/music/james-levine-sexual-misconduct-met-opera.html

    Given the substantial rumors that circulated for decades, the Met and the Times should have investigated the matter years ago.

    1. Blair Tindall says:

      They tried. But you need documentation or else face libel charges, and there was none at the time. This police report will encourage other victims to come forward.

      1. William Osborne says:

        We would need specifics to determine the extent of their efforts, if any. Given how close the Met was to the situation, I think they could have uncovered something if they had made a serious investigation. And if they had looked into this before, why aren’t they pointing this out? To say nothing of the institutions in Illinois and Cleveland. It seems more plausible that they simply looked the other way, and that the Met might have even been complicit in a cover up. Hopefully we will learn more in the coming weeks, and if necessary, justice done.

        1. Olassus says:

          Cincinnati.

          1. Olassus says:

            Sorry, you are right. Cleveland.

          2. Antonia says:

            Some are saying they saw this problem emerging even while JL was a student at CCM, so indeed, you may he correct in saying “Cincinnati”!

        2. Blair Tindall says:

          I traveled to courthouses while writing MITJ — to look up public records on JL. Didn’t find one.

    2. Anon says:

      When’s one of [redacted] female violin students at CIM going to talk about his gross abuse of power, harassment, and sexual assaults?

  2. Giant Meteor says:

    The sudden plethora of “news” in the last few months regarding alleged molestations in this and other institutions after decades of comparative silence is highly suspicious. One could suspect a diversion from much darker issues in political circles that need to be kept out of the public eye at any cost.

    1. Been Here Before says:

      Is this Trump’s fault, too?

      1. Tenorlove says:

        I think it started during the Clinton Administration.

        1. Steve P says:

          No, Bill was very definitely not into young males.

        2. Wes parker says:

          Uh, try the Nixon administration.

          Could Stephen Sondheim please be next?

          1. The Epicure says:

            Good heavens; now it’s so easy to traduce somebody else’s reputation?

  3. Itsjtime says:

    When James Levine first conducted the Curtis Institute Orchestra in 1998-1999 there was some consternation among the students and a few faculty members These rumors were omnipresent , then.

    However, there seemed a consensus amonst the highest artistic administration at Curtis that his music making was worth the “ethical quagmire”. So it was swept under the rug and ignored.
    There was talk amongst the students about payoffs from the Met and even conjecture about Levine having to wearing an ankle bracelt to track his movements but that was never corroborated. It just proves to me that his behavior was one of the worst kept secrets in classical music.

    1. Michael Endres says:

      In case the Met, other organisations or responsible individuals knew about this underage abuse over decades ( ! ) they have lost any credibility whatsoever, need to be held accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law and sponsors might then – justifyably so – take their Dollars elsewhere.
      What a Gargantuan disservice to classical music if proven to be true…

      1. Been Here Before says:

        Exactly!

      2. Olassus says:

        Das Ende!

      3. Anon says:

        But take their dollars where?
        In the cultural realm it isn’t better anywhere else, more likely worse.
        The classical culture is one of the last islands, of where the aspirational belief in the good and beautiful in mankind remains alive. Most other cultural fields are commercialized and trivialized to death already.

  4. Paul Emmons says:

    What would constitute “appropriate action” for something that happened a generation ago?

    1. Elly Winer says:

      I dunno. Let’s ask one of the dozens of parents of the molested children.

  5. Ungeheuer says:

    I think Levine played the fiddle for the last time yesterday, for himself and for Gelb. It is being reported, after all, that Gelb and the Met board had been informed of the police report sometime in 2016. And yet, Gelb and the board did nothing about it and continued engaging Levine at the Met. This is clearly a case of protecting their boy and outright complicity with crime. So, this requires house cleaning: Gelb and the entire board must resign immediately. And good luck to Levine, who ought to be banned everywhere for life, and I mean the world over, effective immediately too.

    1. Mark says:

      Sure, let’s destroy the life of a great musician who has given us countless hours of great music making, who’s made the Met orchestra into the powerhouse it’s today, because of some rumors.

      The Illinois police has investigated this for an year and a half. What was the local DA’s determination ? How credible was the alleged victim’s testimony? Any corroborating witnesses or evidence ?

      1. The View from America says:

        #GeniusIsNoLongerAnExcuse

  6. Charles Fischbein says:

    Wow. Mr. Gelb will have to remove his head from his behind.
    Four years ago on this site I stated that this was well known in opera circles. SlppedDisc has also covered this story before.
    With the Met cutting its budget and canceling productions perhaps it will seek to have Levine return the millions it has paid as hush money to families of young boys he has molested.
    This behavior and alleged payoffs took place before Gelb took over so it is with sadness that I feel Volpe who truly loved the Met is perhaps also involved in the coverup that has run its course over decades.
    If allegations are true which many believe it is time for a closer look at the moral failures of the Mets rubber stamp boat of directors.
    In one way a sad day for the Met but it is about time Levine is exposed for what so many knew he was.

    1. The View from America says:

      #TheyAllKnew

  7. Edmondo says:

    This victim should sue and the lawyers should depose not only Levine but the entire MET executive structure including reaching back to Mr. Volpe and others now gone. They should also include Levine’s attorney, Ronald Wilford’s estate attorney, who now sits on the board of Columbia Artists Management, and any other executive at CAMI who worked for and shielded this known monster’s behavior. It is that agency that which protected this man over the years and they should be confronted.

    1. The View from America says:

      #TheyAllKnew

  8. Marc Parella says:

    This behavior has gone on for too long. Think this is new? Classical music has been under the media’s radar for decades, and without attention from the media, the powerful and influential have too long abused their positions to justify their behavior. Don’t be surprised if we start to hear of trafficking and other forms of manipulation done by conductors, managers, and executives because no one is looking.

    1. Antonia says:

      https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/arts/dance/peter-martins-new-york-city-ballet.html?referer=https://m.facebook.com/

      Peter Martins- NYC Ballet…Accused of sleeping with dancers and favoring them for the better roles. 🙁

  9. Bob says:

    I was a music student in New York in the 80s. Everyone in the music world knew, and everyone accepted it. There’s no way the Met and the Time didn’t know.

    1. Elly Winer says:

      You’re thinking of the Hose Arts Trio.

      Not joking.

      Seriously.

  10. Morris Belemans says:

    Everyone knew Jamie Levine was basically a classical music Bill Cosby. He also had a gay insular protectors at the Met–anyone who was gay, was not considered for a job. That was an open secret. Numerous other “training” academies, institutes, etc…have a similar “working” arrangement by which those who gay are protected and given tons of opps whilst those who aren’t are shown the door or given lip service. That was american reality. Good luck with those annual end of yr begging for dinero letters. Adios.

  11. Morris Belemans says:

    Erratum: “Should read–anyone who was NOT gay was NOT considered for a job……”


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