Taxman reveals James Levine’s last pay check

Taxman reveals James Levine’s last pay check


norman lebrecht

May 16, 2019

In the season when he was fired from the Metropolitan Opera, former music director James Levine was paid $936,755 through his company Phramus, tax records have revealed.

Levine was paid $1,827,615 by the Met in calendar year 2016, and $1,543,119 in 2017.

Both sides are still suing each other in a case that is staggering its way towards court.



  • Sycorax says:

    Not too bad, especially when you consider other musicians’ paychecks.

  • jp says:

    The IRS releases form 990s, required of US non-profits, that usually show the 5 highest paid employees, 5 highest paid officers, and the 5 highest paid consultants; sometimes they use corporate names, as here. Many non-profits post these as a show of good governance, others can be found by using one of the many web tools for checking non-profits.
    Long winded way of saying you can find out how much some singers and conductors and music directors make, if only you care to look. Some music directors get two salaries, one for conducting, one for being music director. It’s a fascinating world to delve into.

  • Conner says:


  • Cubs Fan says:

    No conductor is worth that; not even in expensive New York. The Met needs to lower its costs, lower ticket prices and get those seats filled.

    • Jack says:

      It would help if the Met tore down the dated modernist house they’re in now and replace it with a more contemporary, smaller house.

    • PHF says:

      Not only the Met, most orchestras in the US should lower their costs, especially the salaries of conductors and top executives.

    • anonymous says:

      start by lowering the costs of musician salaries

      conductors usually demand 10x base salary

  • Charles Turner says:

    And what is the cost of a ticket?

  • Cantantelirico says:

    He should have been gone 25 years ago.

    • Nick says:

      What an UGLY thing to THINK, let alone to utter in a public forum!! I wanna throw up when I see such people talking!

  • Caravaggio says:

    Disgusting is right, especially in light of declining fortunes, fiscal and artistic, with no bottom in sight.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Gross !!!

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try”

  • Nick says:

    Maestro Levine is one of the greatest modern (post-Bernstein, post-Kleiber) conductors and musicians. Not only, he is also an absolutely brilliant pianist, I am talking performing pianist. For those lucky enough to hear the Carnegie Hall “Anthology of the Song” concerts with Jessye Norman and Maestro Levine will never forget the sheer brilliance and musicianship of this unique collaboration! Levine deserves all the money in the world and the Met was right to reward M° Levine the way it did!
    Kudos to Met for that!

  • Esther Cavett says:

    OK – so how much do you posters all earn ? Huh

    Not sure why this is being discussed. Levine was always a fabulous musician.

    • V.Lind says:

      How present was he in recent seasons? every time I tuned into a Met broadcast it seemed they were discussing his indisposition(s).

    • carson says:

      He was a disaster for the last 10 years!! Should have retired then. He brought down the morale at the Met and the performances suffered terribly as a result of his not being able to control his body. And I am talking NO BEAT AT ALL. Give me a break.

  • The View from America says:

    Well, that was certainly money well-spent.