Tax returns have revealed that during James Levine’s final season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the embattled music director earned nearly $1 million.
Last May, the Met filed a countersuit against Levine. The popular opera house claimed that Levine’s conduct – including unreported sexual harassment and abuse – had harmed the company.
During the 1970s to the 90s, the beleaguered music director allegedly used his position of power to prey upon and abuse up-and-coming artists.
Citing an instance in 1979, Levine had questioned a 16-year-old male musician about his sex life. Then, two years later, and wearing a bathrobe, the former music director entered into the artist’s dressing room to ‘discuss’ a performance. Levine soon made sexual remarks and touched the man inappropriately at least seven times over a period of twelve years.
Then, in 1985, the distinguished director offered a male singer a ride home following an audition. Levine soon proceeded to lock the car doors and kiss the man against his will. Years later, the music director placed the singer in a prestigious program at the Met.
He has also forced male artists to watch him masturbate.
Levine and his lawyer, Edward J.M. Little, have vehemently denied the accusations in a federal courtroom. But in their initial lawsuit, the former music director received bad news last March. New York Supreme Court Justice Andrea Masley had dismissed all but one of his defamation claims against the Met.
But, it wasn’t all bad news.
According to a new report, during his 47th and final season at the Metropolitan Opera House, Levine’s company, Phramus, received $936,755. The Met disclosed the payments after submitting its tax returns for the year ending July 31st, 2018. Levine had made his debut at the Met in 1971.
For the 2016 calendar year, Phramus had received $1,827,615. Levine’s company then received $1,543,119 the following calendar year.
The Met made the payments in the 2018 calendar year. The opera house had suspended Levine as music director emeritus in December 2017.
His case against the Met may proceed to trial. Levine and Phramus had sued the opera house for breach of contract and defamation.
Featured image by Bülow 18300108 (YouTube screengrab).