The Metropolitan Opera said Saturday that it has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against longtime conductor James Levine.
Levine, who first became musical director of The Metropolitan Opera in 1976, continued to work there as recently as Saturday night, when he completed his run conducting Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem".
The alleged victim came forward to the Lake Forest police department in October 2016 to detail the molestation.
The official of Met acknowledged that they had been knowing about the police complaint since 2016, but it is heard that Levine denied the allegation at the time and police hadn't said anything further in the case. Levine was next scheduled to conduct Giacomo Puccini's "Tosca", on New Year's Eve.
"It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide", he said of the alleged abuse in the police report. We are working on an investigation w outside resources to determine whether charges of sexual misconduct in the 1980s are true, so that we can take appropriate action.
The younger man was not identified in either report, but The New York Times reported that it had interviewed the alleged victim on condition of anonymity and that he confirmed that he made the accusations in the police report. He was trying to seduce me. The alleger explains in the report that the misconduct continued as he sought a mentorship from the famed conductor, who had promised to see if he could "be raised special like me". But eventually, he said Levine would masturbate in front of him and, as he got older, he said the conductor inappropriately touched and fondled him. The allegations were made in the New York Post.
With long-silent victims of abuse now speaking out about sexual harassment and predatory behavior by powerful, high-profile men in Hollywood, Congress and the media, it was inevitable that stories would begin to appear about sexual misbehavior in the backstage classical music milieu where conductors wield great power with few consequences for unprofessional behavior. He was music director of the Metropolitan Opera for 40 years and now is director emeritus.