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Sexual Abuse Allegations Against James Levine Spell Trouble For Met Opera

James Levine, shown leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007, has been suspended by the Metropolitan Opera following allegations of sexual abuse.
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James Levine, shown leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007, has been suspended by the Metropolitan Opera following allegations of sexual abuse.

The Metropolitan Opera has suspended its longtime conductor and former music director, James Levine, following allegations of sexual abuse reported by The New York Post and The New York Times. The three sets of allegations span from the 1960s to the '80s.

Beyond his work at the Met, Levine has been a hugely influential figure in the classical music world for the past half-century — leading major orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and mentoring young musicians and opera singers at summer music programs such as the Ravinia Festival near Chicago.

NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas speaks with Mary Louise Kelly about the allegations, what they mean for the Met and some of the broader implications for classical music. Hear the conversation at the audio link.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.