New York's Metropolitan Opera to investigate allegations its world-famous conductor James Levine molested teenager

James Levine is currently director emeritus of the Metropolitan Opera - AP
James Levine is currently director emeritus of the Metropolitan Opera - AP

The Metropolitan Opera in New York is to investigate allegations that James Levine, regarded by many as America's greatest conductor,  molested a teenager for years. The allegations were made in the New York Post.  

Citing a police report, the paper alleges the abuse started while Mr Levine, who spent 40 years as music director at the Metropolitan Opera in New York,  was guest conductor at the Ravinia Music Festival outside Chicago.  

Mr Levine has denied the allegations, said a spokesman for the Met, which is one of the world's most renowned opera houses.

The New York Times said it had also seen a copy of the police report in which the allegations had been made.

In a statement Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, told the Telegraph "This first came to the Met’s attention when the Illinois police investigation was opened in October 2016.

"At the time, Mr Levine said that the charges were completely false, and we relied upon the further investigation of the police. We need to determine if these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action. We’ll now be conducting our own investigation with outside resources."

According to the New York Post, the first physical approach was made in 1985 when the alleged victim was 15.   As the alleged abuse continued, Mr Levine also wrote a college recommendation for the young man on college stationery, the paper reported.

The New York Post claims the abuse carried on until 1993.

According to the paper, the man - who is now 48 - told his mother about the alleged abuse in 1993.

James Levine - Credit: Hiroyki Ito/Getty
James Levine Credit: Hiroyki Ito/Getty

Last year the alleged victim reportedly raised the matter with both the police department at Lake Forest, Illinois and with a former board member of the Met - who in turn passed on the allegations to the general manager.  

Now 74, Mr Levine is currently director emeritus of the Met, having been the director until April 2016.   During a long and distinguished career, Mr Levine was nominated for 37 Grammy Awards.

He continued conducting even after he was left confined to a wheelchair.

Mr. Levine’s condition has shown some improvement and he has undertaken a number of engagements if Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” and Verdi’s Requiem at the Met.

He is currently scheduled to  conduct “Tosca” on New Year’s Eve.  

Neither Mr Levine nor his agent responded to the New York Post's  request for comment.