Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

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IcedNote
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Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by IcedNote » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:23 pm

I've heard these rumors for a long, long time. Glad to see the truth is finally coming to light.

https://nypost.com/2017/12/02/legendary ... ce-report/
Legendary Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine molested an Illinois teenager from the time he was 15 years old, sexual abuse that lasted for years and led the alleged victim to the brink of suicide, according to a police report obtained by The Post.

The alleged abuse began while Levine was guest conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival outside Chicago, a post the wild-haired maestro held for two decades.

The alleged victim came forward to the Lake Forest, Ill. Police Department in October 2016 to detail the molestation, including times when Levine would masturbate in front of him and kiss his penis, according to the report.

The alleged victim informed a former Met Opera board member of the alleged abuse in 2016 and she alerted the Met’s general manager, yet Levine continued to wield his baton.

The now 74-year-old maestro, who spent 40 years as music director of the Metropolitan Opera and is currently director emeritus, conducted a performance of Verdi’s “Requiem” at Lincoln Center Saturday.

The alleged victim’s 2016 claims came nine years after the statute of limitations on a possible child sex crime in Illinois had expired. The age of consent in that state is 17. The Lake Forest Police Department investigated the allegations anyway, and turned its findings over to the Lake County State’s Attorney. A State’s Attorney spokeswoman told The Post Friday the case is still under review and no charges have been brought.

“I began seeing a 41-year-old man when I was 15, without really understanding I was really ‘seeing’ him,” the alleged victim, now 48, said in a written statement to the police department. “It nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide. I felt alone and afraid. He was trying to seduce me. I couldn’t see this. Now I can.”

The alleged victim, whose name is being withheld by The Post, said Levine showered him with $50,000 in cash over the years.

Rumors about improper sexual contact have long swirled around Levine, who closely guards his private life. The pianist and musical prodigy made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1971 at the age of 28 and within months became its main conductor.

Levine rose to music director at the Met in 1976 and held the title until April 2016. The Met paid him $1.8 million in 2015, according to its latest available tax filings.

He is considered a giant of the classical-music world, nominated for 37 Grammy Awards and winner of 10. He was honored by the Kennedy Center in 2002, alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Simon, James Earl Jones and Chita Rivera. He conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Disney’s “Fantasia 2000” movie.

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Levine held posts — and picked up paychecks — with other orchestras, including music director of the Boston Symphony. That company paid Levine $1.2 million in 2010, his last year there.

The maestro made a splash in 1971 as a last-minute guest conductor with the Chicago Symphony at its summer home, the Ravinia Music Festival located in the city’s ritzy North Shore suburbs. The festival appointed him music director in 1973, a post he held for 21 years.

Earlier this year, Ravinia bestowed a new title on Levine — conductor laureate — and he is expected to lead concerts and hold master classes during two-week summer residencies through 2022.

It was at one such Ravinia concert in 1973 when the alleged victim, then a 4-year-old boy living in a nearby suburb, was taken backstage by his parents to meet the great maestro.

The boy would see the conductor during subsequent summer visits to the festival and, according to the police account he later gave as an adult, the older man “took an interest” in him, even sending conductors’ batons and other gifts to his home.

The alleged victim said he did not see Levine for several years starting at age 10 and met him again at 14 when he started going backstage at Ravinia on his own, according to the report.

In 1985, when the alleged victim was 15, he told police that Levine drove him home and stopped the car in the back section of his family’s driveway.

“He started holding my hand in a prolonged and incredibly sensual way,” writes the alleged victim. “I was not aroused as I never was during my relationship with him as I am a heterosexual individual. But there were some feelings of affection and mostly confusion. … I was very uncomfortable with the hand holding.”

During that encounter, Levine allegedly told the young man “I want to see if you can be raised special like me.” He also asked him to “Come to New York so I can audition you as a conductor.”

He said he later asked fellow students at a summer program, “Am I gay because he held my hand?” according to the report.

The alleged victim said that Levine first fondled his penis when he was around 16 years old. He said the alleged encounter happened at the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest, Ill., 10 miles from the Ravinia Festival.

The luxury hotel, styled as an English inn, was the scene of “hundreds of incidents” over the years, according to the report.

The alleged victim said Levine would invite him to dinner, keep him waiting as to the appointed time, and then ask to meet him immediately at the Deer Path Inn, the report says.

The teen thought he was talking to his mentor about how to achieve his ambitions in classical music, according to the report.

“I would get there and the lights were off and he would say to me, after I came in, and after a hug, ‘Take off your clothes. I am working very hard and need to rest,’” the report says.

Levine would masturbate in the bed or in the bathroom, the alleged victim told police.

The maestro told the young man “Only with him … could I safely explore my feelings,” the report says.

In 1987, he said the alleged abuse escalated and Levine “put his finger in my anus,” according to the report.

That same year, Levine wrote the alleged victim a college recommendation letter on Met stationery, which is included in the police report, praising the young man and saying “over the years I have always found him to be exceptionally responsive and concentrated, curious and eager to learn.”

The alleged victim said his encounters with Levine continued until 1993, sometimes in New York City where they dined at Cafe des Artistes and Shun Lee on the Upper West Side near the Metropolitan Opera’s home at Lincoln Center.

In one instance in New York City, Levine “kissed my penis,” the alleged victim said. He also told police “he would fondle my penis many times,” the report says.

“Levine was not a person you ever said no to,” he told police.


The alleged victim said the abuse continued even after he was 18 because he had so much trust in Levine.

“He inflicted shame and guilt on me. Making [it] hard for me to see the wrong. Emotionally I have been hurt by this and confused and paralyzed,” he says in his statement to the police.

The alleged victim said he finally told his mother about the abuse in 1993.

In 2016, after contemplating going public, the alleged victim said he called a former board member at the Met who advised him to contact the police.

The board member, Beth Glynn, later told Lake Forest Police Detective Wendy Dumont that she spoke to the general manager of the Met about the victim’s phone call.

Glynn told Dumont there were “always rumors” about Levine “because he was socially awkward but he never had any issues at the Metropolitan Opera House for 40 years.”

When contacted by The Post, Glynn confirmed she urged the man “to call the police.”

Dumont also reached out to classical music blogger Greg Sandow, who told her he had been contacted by three men in past years purporting to have been abused by Levine, one of them being the alleged victim.

“The rumors of [Levine’s] alleged abuse have been widespread for decades and in my experience they seemed to be widely believed inside the classical music field though I’ve never heard anyone cite anything specific,” Sandow told the police.

Sandow declined to comment to The Post.

Levine himself acknowledged existence of these rumors in a 1987 New York Times article about management changes at the Met, but seemed to dismiss them.

He said 10 years earlier the Met’s general manager “called me about reports of a morals charge in Pittsburgh or Hawaii or Dallas. Both my friends and my enemies checked it out and to this day, I don’t have the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what purpose they served. Ron Wilford says it’s because people can’t believe the real story, that I’m too good to be true.’’

Wilford was Levine’s manager.

Levine went on to say that he was “not a doctor married with three children living in suburbia. I live my life openly; I don’t make pretenses of this or that. What there is is completely apparent, so if people want to damage me, they have to invent things that are lurid and vicious.’’

Levine has been hobbled in recent years by back problems and Parkinson’s disease. He lives at the famed San Remo apartment building on Central Park West where former oboist and Levine pal Sue Thompson was long his roommate.

Neither Levine nor his New York agent returned multiple requests for comment. A spokesman for the Met did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Its general manager, Peter Gelb, did not return a message.
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Belle
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:33 pm

This is just dreadful; there are no winners from this. I'm only sorry the person being abused, who was 15 at the time, didn't go to the police then. It seems all a bit late now to guarantee that Levine has his day in court. That's the only way to sort out these matters, not trial by media or kangaroo court. Same thing in Australia at the moment with Geoffrey Rush who has just resigned an important post based on some finger pointing.

If we were to examine the sexual proclivities of famous musicians, composers and conductors during the last two or three hundred years it would be create a very disturbing and sobering image. The fact we need to come to terms with is that just because you are 'artistic', famous and clever doesn't make you a better person or guarantee more morals than those less successful. Dare I mention Benjamin Britten?

My late father always used to say that the society's morality runs vertically through all the classes and not just horizontally through one.

And these historic complaints about sexual harassment, particularly against women, do not take account of the social context of the time where - particularly in the UK - coarse sexual references in TV programs and movies were the order of the day. Both sexes participated in 'the joke' and then, later, rappers sang about "F***ing your mother". These so-called artists were and are hugely popular, so there's a strong element of hypocrisy in all this. It was only in recent decades that the bikini-clad topless girl was taken from page 3 of some British newspapers.

An unfashionable idea, I know; if we want people to respect us we need to behave as though we respect ourselves. And if that can't be done there is recourse to the law.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by IcedNote » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:18 pm

The Met admits they knew about it last year and chose to do nothing until the media picked it up.
Met officials acknowledged they had been aware of the police report since last year, but said that Mr. Levine had denied the accusation and that they had heard nothing further from the police. They decided to begin an investigation after receiving media inquiries about Mr. Levine’s behavior.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/arts ... opera.html

Disgraceful.

-G
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Lance » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:27 pm

I'd heard about Levine for years, and a shame at this point in his life to face his past in this embarassing manner. I feel badly for the victim, as well. I wonder how all this will affect Levine's career, what is left of it. Pianist Mikhail Pletnev went through something like this awhile back. But then we have Bernstein, Mitropoulos, and countless others who seemed to avoid the bad publicity.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:54 am

Like you, I've known about this for a long time, more than 30 years, since I went to work at Central Opera Service. Yet I have never mentioned it publicly, here or anywhere else. Why not? Artists' private lives do not concern me unless they have a direct perceivable effect on the artistic work. Wagner's antisemitism did not, despite some tendentious efforts to identify Beckmesser and the Nibelungs as Jews (Wagner never did), nor did Herbert von Karajan's membership in the Nazi Party. Levine's misconduct toward one young person didn't either.

Concerning that offense, the law, customs, and people's opinions are all over the lot. The so-called age of consent varies from country to country and state to state; it's 14 in Germany, and was 14 in Hawaii until 2001. And in many places the law regarding age differs depending on whether the couple are the same sex or different. That's what happens when people try to write their moral views into law. It's widely agreed that sexual molestation of very young people can have a terrible effect on them, and I agree whole-heartedly that they must be protected by society until they reach maturity, wherever that line can be drawn. But just how this should be done without interfering with harmless relationships and activities, is a very hard question. I certainly have no answer to it.

There's no good reason for the Met or any other entity to "punish" Levine for activities that have done them no harm. His services to the art of music and particularly the Met do not excuse misconduct in his private life, and I certainly don't excuse it (if anybody cares). But to negate that great achievement, withdraw such honors as he has abundantly earned, and put an end to his career, would be grossly unjust.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by barney » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:59 am

We don't know if it is an isolated case. Such abuse often is not (which is no comment on Levine's possible guilt). I too have heard many rumours, some more disturbing than this story, but have no idea of their veracity.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:56 am

John F wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:54 am
There's no good reason for the Met or any other entity to "punish" Levine for activities that have done them no harm.
Maybe, maybe not. I think that the Met's reputation would be harmed indirectly if an employee whom folks identified with the Met were to be found to have conducted himself criminally or even in such a manner as to bring discredit upon the institution; moreover, the Met's reputation may be directly at risk since by their own admission they knew of a police report regarding Levine's alleged criminal behavior and did nothing until the media broke the story. The Met now says it is investigating:
We are deeply disturbed by the news articles that are being published online today about James Levine. 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.— Metropolitan Opera (@MetOpera) Dec. 3, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/arts ... opera.html

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:35 am

barney wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:59 am
We don't know if it is an isolated case. Such abuse often is not (which is no comment on Levine's possible guilt). I too have heard many rumours, some more disturbing than this story, but have no idea of their veracity.
We also don't know how much of the story is true, if any. Levine has denied it. But the gossip I've heard all these years was always about his relationship with one boy. For what it's worth.

The Met had to say something, and to say they are "investigating" is the most noncommittal response they could make. Note that when various media celebrities such as Charlie Rose were accused of sexual misconduct (with adults of the opposite sex), they were fired immediately. There's no good reason why Levine's private life, if immoral, should bring shame on the Met, indeed less so than Toscanini's prolonged adulterous affair with Geraldine Farrar a century ago, since they were both members of the company and careers were at stake. It brings shame only on himself. Of course there are bad reasons, and these days people aren't too descriminating between good and bad reasons. If they ever have been.
Last edited by John F on Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:37 am

Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer are outliers. How long did it take for Harvey Weinstein to be fired? Weeks, months, years or decades?

The allegations about Levine concern sex with a child, a crime, not a generically immoral life style, a la Toscanini's hookup with Farrar.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:05 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:56 am

Behind the scenes, I suspect that Gelb may be trying to persuade Levine to resign, retire, whatever sounds best. Levine is to conduct the premiere of the new "Tosca" on New Year's Eve and "Il Trovatore" in January, so it's a matter of some urgency. If Levine refuses, as I'd guess he would, then Gelb has to decide whether to fire him, and if not then what to say. Levine could cancel ostensibly for health reasons, putting off the day of reckoning. What a mess.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:59 am

Lebrecht issues a note of caution, in support of Levine.

https://slippedisc.com/2017/12/james-le ... f-caution/

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:26 am

jserraglio wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:56 am
Maybe, maybe not.
I have to agree with you-in this age no one is entitled to a free pass-like in these other cases that have come out about sexual misconduct I think the matter needs further investigation and transparency on Levine's part. Regards, Len

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:59 am

lennygoran wrote:in this age no one is entitled to a free pass-like in these other cases that have come out about sexual misconduct
I am a devoted admirer of Levine's artistry (I listen often to his recordings and broadcasts), so I do hope these disturbing allegations of criminal misconduct with a child prove to be baseless.

But, as you suggest, to have this stuff swirling around in the public arena (NY Times, NY Post, Boston Globe, Newsweek, etc.) in this day and age poses a massive problem for the Met as an international institution, and no amount of analogizing Levine's lifestyle to that of philandering maestros or Nazi-loving music directors of the century past can alter the fact that today, in the public's mind, James Levine IS the Met. Very sad.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:10 am

jserraglio wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:59 am
>I am a devoted admirer of Levine's artistry (I listen often to his recordings and broadcasts)...But, as you suggest, to have this stuff swirling around in the public arena (NY Times. Post, Boston Globe, etc.) in this day and age is a massive problem for the Met,
Yes all the PBS repeats on TV I've recorded, all the operas we've seen live at the Met-just wonderful-he probably should step aside until this is investigated further--if he's there it night be awkward---still whether he's there or not Sue and I will be there live for the Tosca and the Luisa Miller. Regards, Len

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by maestrob » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:24 pm

I too have heard the rumors about Levine's extra-curricular activities, and about $50,000 payments for silence. I was furious then, and am furious now. When I was in high school I fired a voice teacher who made passes at me and reported him to my high school conductor right away. Luckily, he was sympathetic and I remained a soloist at school music festivals.

There are no two ways about this. Levine should retire, citing his health. If not, he should be fired. End of story.

Child molestation is a crime, and should be treated as such. As for Lebrecht, he's full of an unmentionable word.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:23 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:24 pm
There are no two ways about this. Levine should retire, citing his health. If not, he should be fired. End of story. Child molestation is a crime, and should be treated as such.
I agree. A clean break with Levine, and pronto. Because if they wait and specific allegations of criminality later turn out to be credible, Mr. Gelb and his board may find their own heads on the chopping block. After sitting on this since at least 2016, Gelb now must act decisively in the best interests of the Met.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:31 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:24 pm
I too have heard the rumors about Levine's extra-curricular activities, and about $50,000 payments for silence. I was furious then, and am furious now. When I was in high school I fired a voice teacher who made passes at me and reported him to my high school conductor right away. Luckily, he was sympathetic and I remained a soloist at school music festivals.

There are no two ways about this. Levine should retire, citing his health. If not, he should be fired. End of story.

Child molestation is a crime, and should be treated as such. As for Lebrecht, he's full of an unmentionable word.
It's a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions; a great person brought low by character weakness, immorality and flaws. What's the old maxim about 'power corrupts'...? I understand the original complainant was a teenager from a family close to Levine, which makes it all the more shocking since it was based on trust. I wonder why it continued for 8 years without the fellow in question speaking up? Trying to put yourself into the shoes of somebody abused by a family friend is impossible; all sorts of conflicting issues would be at play; not least the issue of a teenager's blooming sexuality about which they are usually notoriously unwilling to speak, even to families. Nevertheless, trial by media isn't the basis of our legal system and everyone is entitled to his or her day in court. Standing them to one side, which is what they do in politics, seems to be politic here.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:58 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:24 pm
There are no two ways about this. Levine should retire, citing his health. If not, he should be fired. End of story.
Not quite. Child molestation is indeed a crime, but in this country one is always presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and if the statute of limitations has indeed run, criminal charges may never be brought. Of course Levine could still be sued in civil court as O.J. Simpson was and found liable, but that's not the same thing as proving him guilty of a crime. The presumption of innocence is not just a legalism, it's an essential protection for all of us against lawless oppression by a tyrannical government, and Levine is as entitled to it as you and I.

I have to wonder why the alleged victim waited some thirty years before bringing this to the attention of the Illinois police, and why he finally did so last year. It's not as if Levine was in a position of authority over him, like an employer or a priest, and could coerce his silence. But that's none of my business and it's pointless to speculate about possible motives.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by IcedNote » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:20 pm

JohnF wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:58 pm
I have to wonder why the alleged victim waited some thirty years before bringing this to the attention of the Illinois police, and why he finally did so last year.
A victim of sexual abuse as a child? By a powerful man? It's a miracle he came forward at all.

-G
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:34 am

You're speculating about how the victim may have felt, and you shouldn't; we really know nothing about it. The world is full of people who are powerful in various ways, but few have the power to coerce or frighten or awe us individually into protecting their damaging secrets. As far as we know, Levine had no such power over the alleged victim; if anything it might have been the other way around. Or not - again, we just don't know.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Len_Z » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:35 am

We are suspending our relationship with James Levine, pending an investigation, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Levine that took place from the 1960's to the 1980's, including the earlier part of his conducting career at the Met. Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season. "While we await the results of the investigation, based on these new news reports, the Met has made the decision to act now," said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager, whose actions are fully supported by the leadership of the Met Board and its Executive Committee. "This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected."

https://www.facebook.com/MetOpera/?hc_r ... nref=story

I really do not care a single bit about Levine (never liked his conducting nor personality), but I am greatly worried about the future of the Met. As we all know, it had serious financial problems before, what will happen to its fund-raising efforts now? Will the donors continue to contribute millions to an organization whose director has admitted to knowing one of his top employees was a sex offender, accused of a criminal act, and did nothing?

Of course, the Met will survive, but it may bleed so heavily that they will never again be able to afford top singers, conductors and directors. Some of the best creatives in the world may not even want their names associated with such a disgraced and tainted theater already.

If I were on the BOD, I would be scared to death. The only viable solution at this point seems to be a thorough investigation by an outside, independent agency and immediate termination of all even remotely involved in the coverup of Levine's shenanigans, regardless of whether the accusations are true or not. Gelb, in particular, should go immediately. And this is not a joke, as the Metropolitan Opera's future is really at stake here.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:57 am

"...regardless of whether the accusations are true or not".

I have a problem with this statement as it has more than a faint whiff of kangaroo court and trial by media. Perhaps it would be much wiser for The Met to make a public statement regarding its expectations about the standards of behaviour of ALL its employees, express regret about what has transpired (presumably under a different management team?) and stand Levine aside pending further investigation. If nobody decides to go the civil route, as JohnF suggested happened with regard to O.J. Simpson, then there isn't much point pursuing the matter. Rumours just aren't enough, no matter how vile we find sexual abuse. A smoking gun has to be found and a courtroom has to be the place of its resolution. James Levine is at the end of his career, very fortunately. I think The Met will recover as long as they handle this deftly. At the moment it's a PR nightmare.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Len_Z » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:20 am

The problem is that it's the current regime and Gelb personally that knew about the accusations in 2016 and did nothing.

I am not a fan of kangaroo court and, being of a Russian descent, remember all too well what has transpired there in the 1930's. To my great regret, the recent and ongoing events in America are starting to look more and more like the Communist purges that were based solely on accusations (no matter how absurd) and admission of guilt (albeit, I doubt anybody has tortured Kevin Spacey or Louis C.K.)

Truth at this point does not matter. What matters is the Met's ability to raise about 60% of its humongous budget from private donors and attract top talent. Both tasks could be an uphill battle if the company is perceived as a safe-heaven for sex offenders and child molesters.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:39 am

John F wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:58 pm
maestrob wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:24 pm
There are no two ways about this. Levine should retire, citing his health. If not, he should be fired. End of story.
Not quite...if the statute of limitations has indeed run, criminal charges may never be brought ...
Depends on when and where any alleged past offenses occurred. If Levine were to be accused of sexual offenses against a child and any of those were committed recently in the state of New York, he might still be at risk of being criminally charged.
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

Len_Z
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Len_Z » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:51 am

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/arts ... ion%2Farts

New accusations. Two more men, names, dates, etc.

Levine is a goner - he will never conduct anywhere ever again. I just wonder what will hapen to his immense legacy. Will they discontinue all those countless CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays and pull them off library shelves like they did in the USSR with the 'enemies of the people' or will they continue selling them, in which case it's hard to picture people who would buy something adorned with a photo of a pedophile.

And of course, the Met - how will it all impact its finances and artistic standings among the top donors, singers, directors, etc.?

Belle
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:12 am

It just gets worse, doesn't it? Why on earth did these new complainants not act before this? In a sense this has given Levine the advantage if that statute of limitations can be upheld. But, honestly, who would want to go through the horror of court proceedings, having all that private and embarrassing information splashed all over the media? He's like the American classical world's equivalent of TV's Bill Cosby and Rolf Harris. There will be others but if there are no complaints the presumption of innocence remains until it can be proven to the contrary.

"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones" ('Julius Caesar').

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by barney » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:21 am

Two comments
1: Leb rec ht. Given how so many people on this forum feel about him (I like him), isn't it delightful that he has suddenly discovered a reverence for facts?
2: The delay in reporting. I spent the best part of 12 years reporting on sex abuse allegations and cover-ups etc in religious institutions. The average time it takes a (pubescent or juvenile) victim of sexual assault to report an allegation is 23 years. So the Levine case is well within th normal window.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:55 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:57 am
"...regardless of whether the accusations are true or not".

I have a problem with this statement as it has more than a faint whiff of kangaroo court and trial by media. Perhaps it would be much wiser for The Met to make a public statement regarding its expectations about the standards of behaviour of ALL its employees, express regret about what has transpired (presumably under a different management team?) and stand Levine aside pending further investigation.

Belle they have now made a statement-before that I would have agreed with you that a temporary stepping aside of some sort would have been wise. IMO this is not necessarily a case that has to be decided in a courtroom--I don't think Charlie Rose or Matt Lauer are heading to court but they are both gone now. Regards, Len

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:08 am

barney wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:21 am
The delay in reporting.
Barney for anyone who couldn't get to the NY Times website to see the whole article there was a letter from Bliss back in 1979. Regards, Len

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Belle
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:40 am

Jordan Peterson has interesting things to say about the presumption of innocence and the individual here at 53 minutes: - he speaks about it for just 1 minute 15 seconds but it's powerful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q14VhGQIUxg

John F
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:28 am

As maestrob suspected, there's more, and it looks worse and worse.

Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations
By MICHAEL COOPER
DEC. 3, 2017

The Metropolitan Opera suspended James Levine, its revered conductor and former music director, on Sunday after three men came forward with accusations that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago, when the men were teenagers. Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, announced that the company was suspending its four-decade relationship with Mr. Levine, 74, and canceling his upcoming conducting engagements after learning from The New York Times on Sunday about the accounts of the three men, who described a series of similar sexual encounters beginning in the late 1960s. The Met has also asked an outside law firm to investigate Mr. Levine’s behavior.

“While we await the results of the investigation, based on these news reports the Met has made the decision to act now,” Mr. Gelb said in an interview, adding that the Met’s board supported his actions. “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 Mr. Levine masturbated him that summer — and then coaxed him to reciprocate — when Mr. Brown was 17 at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan. Mr. Levine, then 25, was a rising star on the summer program’s faculty. James Lestock said that Mr. Levine also masturbated him there that summer when Mr. Lestock was 17 and a cello student — the first of many sexual encounters with Mr. Levine that have haunted him. And Ashok Pai, who grew up in Illinois near the Ravinia Festival, where Mr. Levine was music director, said that he was sexually abused by Mr. Levine starting in the summer of 1986, when Mr. Pai was 16 — an accusation he made last year in a report to the Lake Forest Police Department in Illinois.

“I don’t know why it was so traumatic,” Mr. Brown, who is now 66, said in a recent interview at his home in St. Paul, Minn., fighting tears at the memory, which he said he was moved to share as part of the national reckoning over sexual misconduct. “I don’t know why I got so depressed. But it has to be because of what happened. And I care deeply for those who were also abused, all the people who were in that situation.”

Told of the accusations, a spokesman for Mr. Levine did not comment on Sunday night...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/arts ... opera.html
John Francis

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:23 am

Levine, for the time being, tops the list of men accused in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/harve ... ct-n816546
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Belle
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:17 pm

Shouldn't this be over in The Corner Pub?

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:03 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:17 pm
Shouldn't this be over in The Corner Pub?
Probably should be. In a sense it's been hidden away there for half a century anyway.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Lance » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:33 pm

Well, it does involve a famous classical music artist. I think it's okay for here.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:41 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:17 pm
Shouldn't this be over in The Corner Pub?
Why? It's about a performer of classical music and about the Metropolitan Opera.
John Francis

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:57 pm

This has a baying mob feel to it. I'm arguing that there are legal processes available which, as Jordan Peterson says on the link I provided, is extended to even the most heinous criminals so they are not left at the mercy of the crowd and whose fate is decided in a civilized setting. James Levine is entitled to his day in court, one way or another - and by that I mean penalties or the more likely outcome, financial compensation.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:43 pm

When the facts look bleak, then argue the law.

Levine is certainly entitled to his day in court, not that he will likely be eager to seek it out since his alleged misdeeds, like that of Harvey Weinstein, now appear to have been an open secret for many years among those in musical circles.

For those of us who don't move in those circles, there has been a double shock: the accusations themselves and the fact that they were regarded as old news by so many familiar with the music scene in NYC, Ravinia and elsewhere.

Levine is rich, powerful and able to defend himself. I am much more concerned for those who claim to have been harmed. I am also concerned about the Met, rich and powerful but also fragile. No question. whatever the outcome, that Levine has harmed it.
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Belle
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:47 pm

Levine won't have to "seek it out", others will do that for him. And I'm betting there will be squillions to be paid in compensation by both Levine and The Met. The lawyers always follow the money trail. Undoubtedly The Met will have some insurance to cover these contingencies but it will bankrupt Levine - if the court finds against him in any future litigation, that is.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Heck148 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:00 pm

Lance wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:27 pm
I'd heard about Levine for years, and a shame at this point in his life to face his past in this embarassing manner. I feel badly for the victim, as well. I wonder how all this will affect Levine's career, what is left of it. Pianist Mikhail Pletnev went through something like this awhile back. But then we have Bernstein, Mitropoulos, and countless others who seemed to avoid the bad publicity.
yes, Levine's predilections were pretty well-known years ago - I remember my buddy and I auditioned for Blossom Festival when it first opened, in late 60s....Levine, IIRC, was director, or else in charge of admissions....one of the acceptance requirements seemed to be a willingness to participate in the "extracurricular activities"...the nature of which were made known to us via a good friend of ours from Cleveland.
One has to wonder about Bernstein, who displayed his bi-sexuality pretty brazenly [of course]. Mitropoulos and Copland were also well known in those circles.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:11 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:23 am
Levine, for the time being, tops the list of men accused in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal
Wow the top three all effect me-Levine, Lauer and Rose. Regards, Len :(

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:16 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:57 pm
This has a baying mob feel to it.
Belle have to disagree--these people have gotten away with these things for too long. Regards, Len

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:19 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:47 pm
Undoubtedly The Met will have some insurance to cover these contingencies but it will bankrupt Levine - if the court finds against him in any future litigation, that is.
Belle what court-Levine bankrupted-how? Regards, Len

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Belle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:15 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:19 pm
Belle wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:47 pm
Undoubtedly The Met will have some insurance to cover these contingencies but it will bankrupt Levine - if the court finds against him in any future litigation, that is.
Belle what court-Levine bankrupted-how? Regards, Len
A massive penalty imposed on the conductor through enforcement of reparations by the court. Unless he's squirreled money away in inaccessible trusts this is the likest outcome of any damages claim. If so proven. The legal fees alone will be horrendous.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by lennygoran » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:08 am

Belle wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:15 pm
A massive penalty imposed on the conductor through enforcement of reparations by the court. Unless he's squirreled money away in inaccessible trusts this is the likest outcome of any damages claim. If so proven. The legal fees alone will be horrendous.
Belle thanks-imo certainly any damage claims would have to be settled in court-I think all would agree on that-still I think at least a temporary suspension from the Met while the case is looked into was in order. Regards, Len

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by John F » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:51 am

For years, James Levine has earned about $2 million a season from the Met alone, and more from his music directorships at Ravinia, Munich, and Boston. Ten years ago the BSO paid his company Phramus Inc. nearly $1.6 million for his first season with them. He also earns substantial royalties on his many, many recordings and DVDs of operas and orchestral repertoire, the movie "Fantasia 2000," and so on. As far as I know, his lifestyle is pretty frugal, he doesn't fritter all that money away on the usual accoutrements of the rich and famous - no Hollywood mansions, no yachts or jets, no private Caribbean islands, etc. Levine has always kept his private life very private indeed, and I've found no estimates of his net worth, but even after taxes it must be enormous for a classical musician. The victims of his alleged sexual harassment may well bring civil suits against him - in litigious America that's almost routine - and they may win, but I don't think that's likely to come near bankrupting him, however else it may harm him.
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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:54 am

Heck148 wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:00 pm
yes, Levine's predilections were pretty well-known years ago - I remember my buddy and I auditioned for Blossom Festival when it first opened, in late 60s....Levine, IIRC, was director, or else in charge of admissions....one of the acceptance requirements seemed to be a willingness to participate in the "extracurricular activities"...the nature of which were made known to us via a good friend of ours from Cleveland.
The Cleveland Institute of Music and the Cleveland Orchestra stated yesterday that they knew nothing of any misbehavior during Levine's time there in the 60's and early 70's. According to the article, Plain Dealer reporters are now contacting members and former members of the Orchestra to find out what gives.
Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Orchestra respond to James Levine sexual abuse allegations

http://www.cleveland.com/musicdance/ind ... c_c_1.html

By Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer zlewis@plaind.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The local school where conductor James Levine once taught released a statement Monday stating it was unaware of allegations the famed maestro engaged in sexual abuse of a former student.

In a written statement Monday, the Cleveland Institute of Music said it learned of allegations against Levine, former music director of New York's Metropolitan Opera, in news reports, and that it had no record or knowledge of any complaints against him during his tenure at the school from 1965 to 1972.

"The Institute was deeply disturbed to learn about the incidents which were reported to have occurred in Cleveland in the late 1960s and early 1970s," read the statement, referring to a Dec. 3 New York Times article detailing alleged instances of sexual abuse in Northeast Ohio and elsewhere.

"The Cleveland Institute of Music is fully aware of its lawful obligations toward students, and faculty and staff are instructed in both the spirit and letter of our long-standing policies and complaint procedures regarding sexual harassment and misconduct."

The Cleveland Orchestra, where Levine also served six seasons as an apprentice or assistant conductor under music director George Szell and was known to have had a following, released a similar statement.

After noting that Levine held the positions of apprentice and assistant conductor from 1964 to 1970, and last appeared with the group in 1970, the statement said, "We are not aware of any complaints made during his time with the orchestra."

Efforts by The Plain Dealer to reach former members of the orchestra and former students at CIM who worked with Levine are ongoing.

One current member of the orchestra, cellist Brian Thornton, said sexual misconduct is widespread in classical music but that he's heartened to see victims in his and other fields stepping forward with their stories.

"It's really a time of reckoning in the music business, as in other businesses, where men have used their power and influence to get away with, and even force, their wishes on other, less powerful individuals," he said.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jserraglio » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:04 am

Tommasini weighs in on the Levine mess. His Levine albums are to be banished from plain sight in his living room.

Should I Put Away My James Levine Recordings?
By Anthony Tommasini DEC. 5, 2017
Anthony Tommasini wrote:So what do I do with these commemorative collections? I won’t give them away. But I’m going to move them out of my living room.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/arts ... ritic.html

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by Heck148 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:39 am

jserraglio wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:54 am
The Cleveland Institute of Music and the Cleveland Orchestra stated yesterday that they knew nothing of any misbehavior during Levine's time there in the 60's and early 70's. According to the article, Plain Dealer reporters are now contacting members and former members of the Orchestra to find out what gives.

That is certainly possible. the incident to which I referred would all apply to consenting adults, legal adult applicants. it was just made known that admission "might" be contingent upon willingness to participate.

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Re: Levine finally getting shamed, decades overdue

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:44 am

John F wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:54 am
Concerning that offense, the law, customs, and people's opinions are all over the lot. The so-called age of consent varies from country to country and state to state; it's 14 in Germany, and was 14 in Hawaii until 2001. And in many places the law regarding age differs depending on whether the couple are the same sex or different. That's what happens when people try to write their moral views into law. It's widely agreed that sexual molestation of very young people can have a terrible effect on them, and I agree whole-heartedly that they must be protected by society until they reach maturity, wherever that line can be drawn. But just how this should be done without interfering with harmless relationships and activities, is a very hard question. I certainly have no answer to it.
Just my two-cents' worth. The age of consent in New York is an unusually high 17. No politician would touch it with a ten-foot pole for obvious reasons, yet thousands have gone to prison and been marked for life as sex offenders because of that difference of a single year between New York and every neighboring state.

None of which is intended to excuse Levine.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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