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Subject: Re: Levine
From: Mike Leone <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Mike Leone <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 5 Dec 2017 20:34:32 +0000

text/plain (75 lines)

  Hello all--
I am to an extent inclined to agree with those who say it is time to move on to other things.  On the other hand, I have plenty of feelings about this whole issue, as I think many of us do, and I think we are as entitled to discuss those here as we were to discuss the untimely death of Dmitri Hvorostovsky.  As has been stated here many times, "If you don't want to read any more about this, just hit the delete button after reading the subject line," something I did most recently with all of the "When to retire" posts.  The only problem with that approach is that the subject may have changed three times without the corresponding subject line reflecting that fact.  Now, to get to brass tacks:
I don't think it is as simple as Levine's sell-by date having passed.  The difference this time is that the news found its way to the public eye.  In the other cases, it was probably more a question of enraged parents going directly to the Met.  It may have been part of the payout agreement that the families had to agree to keep silent about the issue.  All of this is of course assuming that the enraged parents and the payouts were real; as of now, they are all still just rumor.  And, who knows, maybe one or more of the ones who have stepped forward (four, according to Wikipedia a few hours ago) were in families who agreed to keep silent but just couldn't bear it any more.  Once the issue hit the public notice (up until a few days ago, it was all only rumors), the Met could no longer ignore it and had to take action.  Obviously, at this point a payout was not going to solve the problem.
Equally damning is the fact that Levine still has not spoken up in his own defense.  And as Inspector Peterson says in the original film version of Mildred Pierce, "And if there's one thing we know from experience, Mrs. Beragon, it's that an innocent man always denies the crime...loud and often."
I feel bad for Levine.  I really do.  I was in attendance at the final Requiem on Saturday afternoon and shortly afterwards began seeing the articles in the New York City tabloids (one of my guilty pleasures whenever I go to NYC) as they were coming out.  I have thought about Levine quite a bit in the last day or two.  He did a lot to build up the performance standards at the Met and introduced or re-introduced major repertoire (I will always be grateful to him for increasing public awareness of Mahagonny, to name just one).  On the other hand, although this may be small consolation to him, Levine has been extremely fortunate in that he had a Major Career.  He was already engaging in those shenanigans when Bing, who sang his praises on the last page of his first autobiography, hired him in 1971.  I can't imagine Bing hiring him if he had known of the allegations at the time, and Levine's brilliant career might never have happened, or at least would have taken a lot longer getting started.  By the way, today is the 46 1/2 year anniversary of Levine's Met debut on June 5, 1971.  So quite a career it was, not even counting the Boston Symphony gig and all of his other activities in the operatic and non-operatic fields and as pianist.
Tomorrow night is the season premiere of the Met's Le nozze di Figaro.  It will be the first Met broadcast since all of this hit the news.  I wonder if there will be anything said during the broadcast about the allegations and the Met's response to them.  I suspect there will not, but who knows?
Mike Leone
[log in to unmask] il Leone!
I find all this so upsetting that I can't quite make sense out of it. 
Apparently, the decades-old rumors about Levine were widely known by 
management (who, indeed, may have even participated in covering up the open 
secret by providing pay-outs to victims), board members, musicians and 
audience members--and yet nothing was ever done until Levine was old and 
growing less reliable as a conductor--in short, until his sell-by date had 
passed.  Now Peter Gelb declares he is deeply disturbed by the latest 
reports (but only once they become reportable in the press, not before when 
he and the board members were quietly cleaning up mess after mess) and finds 
it a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.  And yet, management, 
board members, musicians and audiences at no time sanctioned Levine.  How 
about all those mothers and fathers who brought their kids to the Met or 
whose kids participated in Met productions or other venues where Levine 
worked?  Did anyone warn them about potential risks?  Did anyone mention 
that the health and wellbeing of their child might be at risk?

All those audience members who sat through a Levine performance and who knew 
the 'rumor':  what sort of justification can be used?  That Levine wouldn't 
approach them directly because they were adults?  It didn't matter because 
no one in their family or in their social group were affected?  It's just 
music and he couldn't harm anyone while waving around his baton?  All those 
glowing praises bestowed on Levine by people WHO KNEW he was preying on kids 
and who didn't care because they put their aural pleasure first?

OK, I get it:  we want what we want when we want it, and everything else be 
damned.  But we are talking kids here, and don't we all, at some point in 
our lives, need to take a deep breath and say enough is enough?  I'll give 
this one thing up, the thing I love, if it saves another?

Or is that too idealistic?  Do we all just hold ourselves so entitled that 
we no longer care about those who can't protect themselves?

And, please, I've had a couple of folks who compared the apple/Wagner to the 
orange/Levine.  One (as far as I know) was verbally anti-Semitic;  the other 
was physically assaulting boys.    I'm not sure I see a clear parallel 
but....I guess whatever floats your entitled boat works for you.

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