Feel better about your charitable donations to the nonprofit Metropolitan Opera: “The Met Opera Fired James Levine, Citing Sexual Misconduct. He Was Paid $3.5 Million.” (NYT) Excerpts:
After ill health forced Mr. Levine to repeatedly cancel performances and miss two full seasons, he had reluctantly agreed to become music director emeritus. He would continue to oversee the young artist program he had founded and to conduct many of his signature operas, with a gala celebration of the 50th anniversary of his 1971 Met debut on the horizon.
Mr. Levine’s continued role came at considerable cost to the company. In addition to his $400,000 salary, the Met agreed to pay him his customary $27,000 fee for each performance he conducted — $10,000 more than what the Met usually described in public as its top fee.
That arrangement came to an abrupt end in December 2017, after The New York Times published the accounts of four men who said that they had been sexually abused by Mr. Levine as teenagers; Mr. Levine denied the accusations.
Just a good business decision?
The Met’s multimillion-dollar payment to Mr. Levine came before the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to close its theater — leaving many employees, including its orchestra and chorus, furloughed without pay since April. Even when the deal was struck, the Met’s finances were precarious. Now the company is fighting for its survival.