New York: The Metropolitan Opera on Sunday suspended James Levine, its conductor, after three men, including an Indian-origin guy, accused the former music director of sexually abusing them decades ago, when they were teenagers.
Peter Gelb, the General Manager of the Met, announced that the company was suspending its four-decade relationship with the 74-year-old musician and cancelling his upcoming conducting engagements, The New York Times reported.
According to the report, the three men described a series of similar sexual encounters beginning in the late 1960s. The Met has also asked an outside law firm to investigate Levine’s behaviour.
“While we await the results of the investigation, based on these news reports the Met has made the decision to act now,” Gelb ws quoted as saying.
He added that his actions had the support of the Met’s board. “This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.”
The accusations of sexual misconduct stretch back to 1968.
Chris Brown, who played principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for more than three decades, said that Levine masturbated him in 1968 — and then coaxed him to reciprocate — when Brown was 17.
The incident happened at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan, where Levine was a 25-year-old rising star on the summer programme’s faculty.
The second man James Lestock levelled similar allegations saying he was a 17-year-old cello student when he was assaulted by Levine.
Ashok Pai, who grew up in Illinois near the Ravinia Festival, where Levine was music director, said that he was sexually abused by Levine in the summer of 1986, when Pai was 16.