Cher Public

An hour of pomp and show

On this day in 1953 the Wright-Forrest-Borodin musical Kismet opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre, to run 583 performances. 

Born on this day in 1911 composer Nino Rota.

Born on this day in 1920 tenor Charles Craig.

Born on this day in 1921 soprano Phyllis Curtin.

Born on this day in 1922 tenor William McAlpine.

Happy 72nd birthday mezzo-soprano Jeanne Piland.

Happy 71st birhtday mezzo-soprano Marjana Lipovsek.

On this day in 1954 William Walton’s Troilus and Cressida premiered in London.

On this day in 1960 Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot opened on Broadway.

On this day in 1993 parterre box published its first issue in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the birth of Maria Callas.

  • Camille

    And speaking of Wright-Forrest musicals, extant and otherwise, their musical GRAND HOTEL, The Musical will be given at the New York City Center by ENCORES! It appears to be the re-tooled Tommy Tune version from the late 80’s and not the original flop. Dates are March 21-25, 2018.

    • southerndoc1
    • Pirelli

      The original Wright/Forrest musical was called “At The Grand,” not “Grand Hotel.” The musical as it is now would not exist without the (superior) musical contributions of Maury Yeston in addition to Tommy Tune’s direction.

      • Camille

        That is as well pretty much what the City Center brochure infers, i.e., that it was lost until found by Tune et al. Goody!! I want to go hear it as if it is even half as good as Kismet was, I’m game. And any excuse to visit the fabulously restored City Center.

        And I quote:

        “Only a tiny handful of Broadway shows have gone through the birth pangs that accompanied the creation of GRAND HOTEL, The Musical, and survived an ignominious out-of-town tryout and was scrapped in California. In the late ’80s the visionary director and choreographer Tommy Tune removed it from the scrap pile and re-tooled it for Broadway.

        Its creator were still alive and well, but GRAND HOTEL was not quite. Despite some beautiful music from arobert Wright and George Forrest, it had an unpromising Boston opening. Tune called in the cavalry. Maury Yeston wrote some additional songs and Peter Stone helped reorganize the book. Tune went into overdrive and cloistered his creative team. The show was a hit—a kind of fever dream of life at the end of the Weimar era at Berlin’s most glamorous crossroads. A faded ballerina, a cat burglar posing as a Count, a businessman facing certain ruin, and a young secretary all-too-eager to become an American film star are all trapped by history, as the world careens into a great depression, and the revolving door keeps turning.

        Inspired by Vicki Baum’s 1929 novel, and the 1932 movie that followed, GRAND HOTEL may be the last hit Broadway show ever built on the road by showmen carrying the tools of the past on their backs.”.

        Well, I would not know about that last sentence. Seems like a lot of tool-packin’ men and some of them may still abound and be around. I do generally enjoy envisioning Tommy Tune “calling in the cavalry”, though since he is a good ol’ boy from Texas, no country for old men.

        Anyway, I’m sufficiently interested to go, even if I’ll halfway be expecting Garbo, Barrymore, Crawford, Berry, and all the rest to somehow magically and holographically appear!

  • On this day in 2017, Norman Lebrecht explained the ethics of journalism, and the need to be studiously careful with the facts:

    http://slippedisc.com/2017/12/james-levine-a-note-of-caution/

  • MisterSnow

    One reviewer described Ms. Diener as having the voice of a Walkyrie, the body of a Ziegfeld showgirl, and the timing of a burlesque comic. In addition to Kismet and Man of La Mancha, she also did some opera in Italy including Tosca and Minnie in Fanciulla.

    • Porgy Amor

      When I was skimming this thread, before I connected the comment to one of the subjects of WCO’s daily post, I thought this was about Wagner/Strauss soprano Melanie Diener, which is kind of funny. (I was trying to imagine “the timing of a burlesque comic” existing in the woman I saw as Chrysothemis I saw a while back.) The second sentence put me on the right track.

  • Jorale-man

    Why no post on the James Levine revelations here? This is an opera website, no? #elephantInTheRoom https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/arts/music/james-levine-met-opera.html

    • H_Badger

      seriously….

  • Camille

    The NewYork Times has just filed an article a few minutes ago that James Levine has been suspended from the Metropolitan Opera upon three further alleged abuse claims coming out.
    See NY Times for more information.

    It strikes me that the timing of all this occurrence is most peculiar.

    • Rosina Leckermaul

      How is the timing peculiar? The rumors have been out there for years. In the current feeding frenzy regarding such stories, this isn’t surprising. Add to this decades of rumors about Levine.

      • Camille

        By that I intend that the news broke a few hours after, and not before the final Requiem, which performance served as an important launching point for the new broadcast season. As there are invariably pleas for $$$ on the broadcasts to keep the Met afloat, well….

        As well, that such rumors, allegations, stories--apocryphal or otherwise—have indeed existed for so very long — why is this only being addressed now, when a veritable witch hunt is going on in all areas of the arts, and when a man is used up and semi-retired?

        I’l fairly certain there will be an ocean of true confessions coming out now and am
        recalling that fellow (forgot his name) who
        recently came out about the amount of sexually predatory actions he came across in trying to forge his career in the arts.

        I’m feeling nauseated and going to bed now.

        • Jorale-man

          This could spell the end of the Met as we know it so I can kind of understand why Parterre is at a loss for posts. But it’s also important the opera world confronts these allegations. Why I don’t get is why the Met waited a year to do anything, and kept re-hiring him even amid these accusations. They had an easy out on that point: they could have just said it was due to his health problems. Very strange.

          • H_Badger

            A PR disaster, and seemingly well-deserved. Gelb is gonna have to go. Who would keep giving them money without a thorough house cleaning at this point!?

            • ER

              If the activity had happened AT the MET or during Gelb’s tenure then yes, that would be inevitable. But Gelb can survive this I think… Levine not.

            • Luvtennis

              I don’t think the Met can put this behind them unless there is a complete housecleaning. New BoD. New management. Simple as that.

          • ER

            Well I don’t think they thought this was going to be such an albatross. It’s only once the Weinstein news broke that the floodgates opened and a series of stories came out. In other words, the climate for revelations was very different just a months ago than it is today.

          • rapt

            Not sure why Parterre is seen as “at a loss for posts” on this subject. Much prior discussion on another thread.

          • Camille

            They said upon being questioned he denied the allegations (last year).

            But let’s face it: who is going to ‘fess up to these charges in front of a board of very powerful and rich people? No one. The board may well be complicit in this matter but since it is not a public institution, to whom are they responsible?

            I’m old and have seen my fair share of slime and have to keep my limits— so buonanotte a tuttiquanti! Now I need to go to dream of a better world.

            • Luvtennis

              Camille

              This is what happens when people and organizations compromise their values to achieve an end that they believe is important or worthwhile. Not only do they permit terrible things to be done in furtherance of those ends, but they compromise themselves and often end up destroying the very thing they are trying to protect. A very old story.

              At this point, the Met-like every other organization facing this wave of public disclosure of abuse of power-has only one path to restoration and redemption: 1) a complete investigation of the abuses; 2) a complete accounting of the scope and effect of the abuse; 3) a complete housecleaning of all those with authority and accountability; and 4) a complete change of policies to ensure that the abuses are not repeated.

              It’s like radical surgery. But rather than despair, I think we should all be happy that this moment has come.

              It’s all part of our mission to attain a more perfect union. Just think how much human potential has been lost because of incidents like these which are absolutely endemic to our organizations and symptomatic of the fetishization of leaders and “exceptional” individuals.

              Just my perhaps naive opinion…. But you know me-always virtue signaling. Lol!

            • Camille

              Sure, an ANCIENT story and the true culprit may very likely turn out to be Anthony Bliss, the former GM, who first received “scurrilous” complaints and dismissed them back, when? Late 70s? He’s deceased,so that’s THAT!

              I think the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera Association will do its best for itself. Period. I do not anticipate any vast housecleaning but perhaps a very public display of solidarity with the victims of his “still”
              alleged activities, coupled with a lot of re-vamped human resources policies and memoranda circulating ad infinitum, and with vast amounts of
              goodwill actvity by its stalwart ambassadors. Maybe some gratis Christmas performances of Hänsel und Gretel for children to show the Met as “kid-friendly”? e.g.??

              The Board is not going to implicate itself as liable, complicit in any way and will either ricuse themselves or stonewall their position. Mr Gelb has unfortunately only inherited a situation which clearly did not originate under his watch—quite the opposite, it had seemingly receded in the last ten plus years or so—according to those in the know, and that is certainly Not ME! He has handled with grace the “Ashgate” incident of last year, and by stepping up
              to the plate in a timely fashion, he is acting in the best managerial and executive capacity. He has to manage this many-headed hydra, after all, and there has to be some ONE person in charge to execute actions necessary to clear this situation. This is not the French Revolution. And in the end, what did the radical surgery of the French Revolution create? The Napoleojic Empire. The Restoration of the Nourbons in thirty years. A back and forth tug of war that destabilised the country into the 20th c. and god knows what else.

              The biggest problem and lasting legacy will likely affect the way opera is perceived here In the United States, already not a popular sport. This gives all the more reason to yahoos and nincompoops to be “right” in their opinions and, believe me, living in as many places as I have in the U.S., I’ve heard all manner and variety of uninformed opinion on the subject. All depressing and upsetting.

            • Luvtennis

              Camille

              Do they have a type of tea for these wacky times?

              I am less pessimistic than you.

              Ultimately, I think this moment is going to have salutary effect. I think large organizations are going to start forbidding any romantic interactions among employees (find a sexual partner on your own time and if you want to date a person who happens to be a co-worker then quit your damn job and you can do whatever you want with that person) and I think our laws relating to minors are going to be revisited.

              I also think that the BoD may surprise you. We shall see.

            • bertrand simon

              “Terrible things” . Pour le moment (mais les autres témoignages seront sans doute comparables) s’étale le traumatisme très à retardement d’un homme de 48 ans qui aurait “subi” de 15 à 24 ans des actes de “prédation sexuelle” . L’affaire Weinstein devrait avoir ici pour effet de s’interroger sur la sexualité des jeunes et leur éventuel consentement ( malgré ce que nous racontent les psychanalystes et les églises) . Le Met, qui connaissait ces histoires depuis bien longtemps comme beaucoup de gens, cède à ses risques et périls au politiquement correct .

            • manou

              Il faut tenir compte du climat actuel qui favorise la chasse aux sorcières. Le fait même de mettre “subi” entre guillemets risque de vous soumettre à l’opprobre des bien-pensants. Ceci dit, il ne s’agit pas de la sexualité des jeunes, mais du fait que le prédateur était dans une situation où il pouvait influer sur la carrière des victimes, certaines très jeunes au moment des faits.

            • bertrand simon

              Je veux justement m’extraire du climat actuel et me moque de l’opprobre des bien-pensants . L’influence éventuelle sur la carrière est le cache-sexe de ceux qui ne veulent pas entendre parler de la sexualité des jeunes .

            • Armerjacquino

              That constantly abused phrase ‘politically correct’ really doesn’t apply here. Political correctness is the idea that we should be careful about the language we use and the assumptions we make, to avoid upsetting or offending minorities. It has nothing at all to do with an organisation deciding to hush up abuse allegations in an attempt to avoid a scandal.

            • bertrand simon

              Le scandale est passablement réchauffé (les faits sont connus depuis longtemps) . Pourquoi l’administration décide soudain de réagir si radicalement à ce qu’elle sait de longue date ? Vous faites bien de parler d’allégations : qui croira en effet qu’on puisse être victime d’abus sexuels de 15 à 24 ans ? Je maintiens mon politiquement correct .

            • manou

              L’administration se devait de réagir à cause des plaintes déposées par un certain nombre de victimes, enhardies justement par le climat duquel vous voulez vous extraire. Autant tenter de retirer les œufs du gâteau.

            • bertrand simon

              Alors le climat et les plaintes suffisent pour lâcher un homme qu’on a protégé pendant des années ? Etrange conception de la justice et de la démocratie .

            • manou

              En ce qui concerne la justice, justement, tout dépendra du résultat des poursuites judiciaires Si elles devraient innocenter cet homme, les choses prendraient bien entendu un autre aspect.

            • bertrand simon

              Il y a fort à parier que cela se négociera comme d’habitude par le versement de grosses indemnités aux prétendues victimes . Et l’agitation médiatique nauséabonde actuelle sera bien loin .

            • manou

              Les victimes (prétendues ou pas) ont semble-t-il déjà reçu des montants assez importants pour ne pas dévoiler leur expérience- certains posent la question de savoir qui a effectué ces paiements.

            • bertrand simon

              La question est de peu d’intérêt et n’empêche pas semble-t-il le “dévoilement” . Les victimes et le public saintement horrifié en veulent toujours plus .

            • Christian Ocier

              Why is all of this in French?

            • bertrand simon

              To show a slight difference of appreciation from the old Europe .

            • rapt

              And not a particularly heartening one, alas.

            • bertrand simon

              Can you develop this ?

            • manou

              Langage diplomatique….

            • Armerjacquino

              ‘Words mean what I say they mean’. Ok.

              The rest of your post is so lacking in any understanding of context it’s barely worth addressing. The reason the Met is reacting ‘suddenly’ now is because the matter has become public.

            • bertrand simon

              It is precisely the context i denounce .

            • fletcher

              I was all excited to read some French debate on Parterre but all I got was this garbage argument. :(

            • Porgy Amor

              Indeed. I do not Disqus-block frequently, but on occasion I do so speedily.

          • Antikitschychick

            This could be the end indeed if the allegations are true which seems more likely by the minute given the very detailed and disturbing accounts in that NY Times article which includes stories from three men, not just one. And given the contents of the article (interviews of the alleged victims and the letter they uncovered from decades past) it doesn’t seem to me that this was something they put together in a a day.

            Moreover, the really scary thing about all of this is, if the allegations are true and the abuse had been going on as far back as 1968, before he was even appointed as the music director, and management/board personnel knew about it, the number of people this implicates (at the Met and at other institutions) is seemingly endless.

            This is like the most terrifying opera every written.

            But having said the above I absolutely agree 1,000 percent with what Kullervo said in that other thread, namely that this is no time for reactionary hand-ringing or pointing fingers, especially by those people who also knew and said nothing as they too are complicit in a way. Again this is all just very sad and disturbing, especially the timing of it all.

            • Lohenfal

              On this evening’s 11:00 news (WABC), there was extensive coverage of the story. Two people were interviewed by the reporter standing in front of the Met. One believed the allegations, the other didn’t. Unfortunately, the allegations have the ring of truth, even if further investigation is needed. The “suspension” may well prove to be permanent.

            • Bill

              It will interesting to see how all this eventually unravels -- probably more and more incidents involving Levine will become known for if he was a predator for decades, many young men will have been compromised, and may now crawl out of the woodwork

              That anything will happen to the Met itself is very unclear. I think only if it is discovered and revealed that the Met (the institution) not only tried to cover up the rumors but had an active part in paying off complainants on behalf of Levine, would the institution itself or its manager or Board members or anyone involved suffer or be overthrown. What Levine himself or his agent may have done
              privately to ward off victim’s complaints should not be the responsibility of the Met itself.
              The Met itself cannot be held responsible for
              private illegal actions of a wayward staff member -- they CAN be responsible and accountable if they (General Manager or Board Members) took remunerative action themselves on behalf of Levine just to hush
              the ugliness and keep Levine’s apparently
              trysts/abusive activities to protect him (and themselves) from the law. If there are documents of proof of the Met itself enabling Levine’s activities, just sitting around the administrative offices, a lot of shredding of documents may have been going on just lately at Lincoln Center. With names named, incidents cited in vivid detail, world wide news reports of his dismissal particularly in countries where Levine previously conducted, a stellar reputation ripped to threads by scandal, one can only wonder what Levine and his inner circle are pondering now. There can no longer be denials of lewd activity or merely a history of unpleasant undocumented rumors swept under the chandeliers or innocuous statements to the press stating that an investigation is underway. .

            • Antikitschychick

              Hey Bill, sorry for the delayed response but yes I agree with everything that you say. A very dark cloud has descended upon the Met and things are kind of up in the air right now since the investigation is still ongoing, but I suspect more and more alleged victims will come forward. Things are looking grim for Levine and the Met’s future is uncertain. I don’t want to speculate as to whether they indeed tried to cover up the rumors or worse paid off complainants but at this point it wouldn’t shock me if they did considering the deeply disturbing nature of the allegations and given that they’ve known about them for a year at the very least.

              The timing of it all is also very sad given Levine’s fragile and deteriorated physical state. But I do understand and support the decisions of the supposed victims to come forward even if the statute of limitations have run. I wonder though if the allegations are true why no one tried to get him help? This is such a woefully sad ending to an otherwise successful career. But the law is the law and no one has the right to force themselves on another person, least of all a minor child. Crimes like that need to be punished and made an example of.

              I do have to also say I’m astonished by the general silence of those in the opera community, especially a lot of singers who worked with him throughout the years, with a couple of notable exceptions. I think their collective silence speaks volumes and is troubling. I expected at least a few people to make statements (either supporting or condemning him) but it seems like everyone just wishes to quietly distance themselves from this scandal. I don’t see that as a positive thing. In any case, I plan on attending Norma on Friday. I hope I can actually enjoy it.

            • grimoaldo2

              In one way I feel that we should stop discussing this, it is all very very horrible and disgusting and we have not heard our esteemed doyenne La C’s wishes on this.
              Also this is a blog about opera, a very uplifting,joyful, positive thing and to sink down into the lowest level of evil and depravity here doesn’t seem right.
              But today I read this article
              https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/12/05/568619074/after-assault-allegations-classical-institutions-rush-to-distance-from-james-lev
              “The first public allegation was made when a police report filed in 2016 was provided anonymously to the New York Post and The New York Times. That accuser was later revealed to be the violinist and pianist Ashok Pai. Three others have emerged publicly: bassist and professor Chris Brown, who now lives in Minnesota; James Lestock, a cellist in North Carolina; and violinist Albin Ifsich, a longtime member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Ifsich told the Times he was a 20-year-old student at Michigan’s Meadow Brook School of Music when Levine, then a teacher at the summer program, allegedly began abusing him. Pai, Lestock and Brown were all teenagers when the alleged abuse was said to have occurred.”
              Independent testimony which collaborates each other, no, there can no longer be any doubt that it is true.
              Levine was their teacher, their trusted mentor, he abused his position of power to prey on them sexually, really that is vile.
              Also the article says
              “(Gelb) also told the Times that the Met’s upper administration knew of complaints about Levine going back to 1979. ”
              Yes, that is what I have heard for many years. Obviously Gelb was not there at that time but WHY didn’t the Met investigate these complaints at the time?
              Many many questions remain to be answered.
              I agree with you that more leading figures in the opera world should step forward now, support the victims, and unequivocally condemn the abuser.

            • Antikitschychick

              Hey grim, I don’t mean to drag this discussion on. I just hadn’t had a chance to respond to Bill’s comment.

              I am surprised that there hasn’t been an independent peace or thread on this subject here at Parterre; perhaps it is forthcoming. I also haven’t seen any comments from La Cieca urging us to drop the subject either so I assume it’s ok to keep discussing it. But if you wish to focus on other topics I completely understand and respect that.

              I don’t think people are obligated to comment but ethically perhaps it is the right thing to do as Ryan McKinney suggested especially if they have personal knowledge of what transpired. I don’t feel I’m in a position to dictate whether anyone should or shouldn’t say something but the general silence is again kind of surprising and I also don’t think it reflects well on the opera community although as opera dunce pointed out the investigation hasn’t concluded and charges have not been brought so perhaps people are waiting to see what the outcome is.

              In general I think this is a very complex matter and I don’t think the Met has handled the situation well but we shall see what happens.

            • grimoaldo2

              I wasn’t rebuking you in any way anti, I have been posting a lot on this subject myself.

            • Antikitschychick

              Oh sorry I realize now you were just expressing that you have mixed feelings about continuing to discuss this. I honestly do too.

            • Lohenfal

              AKC, the amplitude of this scandal is so great that I’m not at all surprised by the general silence of the opera world. It will take a long time for these events to sort themselves out, and none of us can anticipate what the effects will be on the Met’s future.

              In the meantime, try to enjoy the Norma performance. I’ll continue to go to the Met--I have a number of tickets left for the season--and will just try to ignore the pall that’s descended on the institution.

            • operadunce

              ” I expected at least a few people to make statements (either supporting or condemning him) but it seems like everyone just wishes to quietly distance themselves from this scandal.” Personally, I think that it is inappropriate for people to comment publicly about specific persons in this type of situation. The Met has an official spokesperson. Other people’s public comments do not contribute to the investigation and can even interfere with it. We do not know whether other singers, members of the orchestra and chorus, stage crew, etc. are being interviewed as part of the Met’s internal investigation or even by law enforcement. Public discussion about these types of offenses and this kind of behavior are useful and should take place, but lining up to publicly condemn an individual really serves no purpose in this context. It’s not an opinion poll.

            • grimoaldo2

              Ryan McKinny has and I applaud him for it --
              https://www.facebook.com/rmckinny/posts/10212345044755934
              “Shame on us. Shame on us for putting him up on a pedestal when we knew. Shame on us for protecting him instead of his victim(s). No music is sublime enough to atone for the abuse of power.”

            • operadunce

              I would be more impressed if he had said “shame on me when I knew” instead of blaming some undefined “us”.

            • Antikitschychick

              Operadunce, I respect your opinion but I disagree. I think it is crucial for victims of sexual abuse and assault to receive at least some level of support for coming forward as it is a very difficult thing to do. Especially when it comes the particular abuse that is being alleged in this case.

              Also, in terms of any internal investigation the Met may be conducting, I am honestly skeptical of their methodology at this point considering the approach they have taken up until very recently terms of addressing the rumors/allegations, given that the extent to which they have investigated has seemingly consisted of questioning Levine and subsequently dropping the matter based on his denials. We don’t know if they’ve done more but if they had wouldn’t they have indicated as such at this point? I do think that an independent investigation was warranted back in 2016.

              Of course I do understand that we have to “trust the process” so to speak to a certain extent so that answers can be found and the authorities can do their job, but I can tell you first hand that the justice system has its flaws and sometimes it takes people and forces outside the criminal justice system, such as journalism and yes, public opinion to get things moving in the right direction. True, sometimes there is interference that is ultimately detrimental but that goes with the territory unfortunately.

              Personally, the most troubling aspect in all of this for me is the fact that there are allegations of arrests for lewd incidents and no police records that we know of thus far. If those allegations are somehow proven to be true and the records magically appear then that will pretty much be direct proof of the extent of the cover up that was done. And that would be very troubling indeed.

            • operadunce

              Antikitschychick , I don’t disagree with the general sentiments you are expressing and I don’t have the benefit of your apparent insider knowledge of the Met’s earlier investigations, if any. Where I disagree is that you seem to be saying that individual performers or employees of the Met have some duty to speak out. I think that “the Met” in this case is the entity that should be required to respond to specific allegations, not individual performers or employees. I think that it is appropriate for those individual performers or employees to express their views on this topic if they feel that it is necessary to declare that they find sexual harassment or abuse reprehensible. But I believe that it is inappropriate for them to publicly speak out about specific allegations against an individual. I’m a retired attorney who practiced law for an employer that had to occasionally deal with these kinds of allegations. Some of them were substantiated and the employer took appropriate action. Some could not be and the employer’s hands were tied. We would not have been aided by our other employees discussing such matters on social media. This is not a matter of whether Levine is entitled to “due process” or whether the victims deserve support. The Met and perhaps other organizations have the responsibility here. The onus is on management and the board of directors, past and present.

            • Antikitschychick

              Operadunce I appreciate your detailed response but I need to clarify that I am not asserting that people have a “duty”, much less a legal one to speak up. I also don’t think we should look at this purely from a legal standpoint in terms of who was a legal duty and who doesn’t. The ethical implications are important too given that the point of conducting any investigation is not solely to come to some tidy legal conclusion as to the extent of culpability of certain parties over others. The whole point is also to find out if people, underage boys specifically were abused so that business practices and policies can be put in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening again as Luvtennis points out. So I disagree that whether victims deserve support or not is irrelevant. This is ultimately all about the victims and seeing to it that people who break the law are punished for their actions and that those who are abused get some sort of justice or recompense (if possible; in some cases it really isn’t).

              In in my comment to grim below I specifically say that I don’t think it appropriate to dictate what people’s responses should be. I just disagree with the unequivocal assertion that it is inappropriate for anyone who is not Met management or a Met spokesperson to express their opinion on the matter especially since the allegations go back decades, which means that this matter implicates a vast number of people and several other organizations besides the Met and possibly even people within The Met who are not managers or employees strictly speaking. I don’t think we will know the vast ramifications of this until quite some time.

              Singers who worked with Levine were/are employees of the Met and some of them probably have some information that is relevant to the investigation. I’m not saying that all of them do and that they are legally obligated to come forward with said information but if they choose to, I wouldn’t categorize that as inappropriate as that is different from members of the general public who never worked at the Met or for Levine.

              Again I said that I was surprised at the general lack of comments on the matter. Not that people have an absolute duty to speak up about it. I did say that the general lack of, not just opinions but acknowledgement reflects poorly on the opera community but thats not the same thing as saying “they all have a duty to speak up”.

              Also I don’t have any insider knowledge about the Met’s investigative tactics/methodologies or lack thereof, I am simply going based off Peter Gelb’s statement in the NY Times article about the investigation and The Met’s earlier response to the 1979 letter. It seems to me that since no specific details were given as to how they came to the conclusion that the allegations were “unfounded” that they simply interrogated Levine and his manager, who both denied the allegations and that was that. Perhaps they did more, but if they did they haven’t disclosed that at this point.

              The only other thing I can say is that I too heard stories from what I would deem to be credible sources, but it is nevertheless hearsay and not first-hand knowledge so I don’t wish to divulge any of that.

            • operadunce

              “The only other thing I can say is that I too heard stories from what I would deem to be credible sources, but it is nevertheless hearsay and not first-hand knowledge so I don’t wish to divulge any of that.” Exactly!

            • jackoh

              I think that it is time, in the midst of all of the pearl clutching (and in this particular instance most of the pearl clutching is coming from the heterosexual community), to make some points about this “sexual harassment” business. The fact of the matter is that we humans are an animal species. And animal species have, as a part of their biological makeup, sex and a sex urge. If they didn’t the species wouldn’t continue to exist. The practice of sex and the urge to sex is absolutely necessary for the species to exist. The problem comes when this very natural biological element is integrated into a group setting. The problem, in that instance, is that in a group setting(a society) the expression of individual urges may cause a problem for other members of the group. And to strike some kind of a balance for the successful existence of the group(as a whole entity) sex and its various expressions are subject to regulation by the group. This is standard Freudian interpretation of how existing societies come to be and are organized for success. “Civilization” requires that basic instincts be organized, restricted, and channeled, so that the “work” or the “progress” of a society may take place unheeded.
              (And Freud is quite clear about the price that this repression exacts on the members of the societies.) But the societal circumscription of the sex drive is an artificial intervention in the biological substrate that underlies and defines the beings that we are. And the harnessing of sexual desire and involvement to the end of perpetuating the species and the society lies at the base of religious notions and so called “modern” notions that sex outside of “procreation” is somehow illegitimate or, to use the psychiatric term(rooted in a political approach and not “scientific” at all) perverse. In the most extreme iteration, if we characterize the expression of any kind of sexual urges as “perverse,” we, in effect, deny our own humanity(our belonging to the animal kingdom, which all religion is at pains to deny). To connect this with the Levine situation, I would say that, yes, the trauma suffered by those who he may have preyed on is real.
              But that trauma is a result, not of any natural biological or psychological condition, but of a societaly defined notion of how one is supposed to behave or of how one anticipates and expects others to behave based on a defined standard that is artificial to the scientific reality of our biological makeup.

            • operadunce

              Balderdash!

            • DonCarloFanatic

              Society also tells us (alas, in some countries only) to use a toilet in a private setting rather than urinate or defecate in the street in front of other people, which is a primal urge even more obvious and longstanding than the sex drive. All social behavior beyond the most primitive urges is regulated by convention and by law. Claiming that breaking the conventions and the law regarding one particular urge somehow should get a pass morally is offensive nonsense.

            • rapt

              An additional note: rather than instances of sexual harassment being regarded as natural sexual urges that happen to conflict with conventions, they can with equal justice be seen as actually motivated by the conventions they counter--the punishment-free breaking of rules (and humiliation of the weaker) stoking the ego of the powerful.

            • fletcher
  • MissShelved

    I remember when I still lived in NYC in the Lincoln Plaza area (late 70s, early 80s) — a couple of times vicious rumors circulated about Levine being caught soliciting. Everyone assumed he was toast even then. Harassing women is one thing (and a lot of men got away with that at the Met…) but pedophilia is quite another. When nothing EVER came of the rumors one could only assume they were, in fact, just rumors. I guess power does, or did, bring privilege.

  • bertrand simon

    Mes 2 derniers posts sont apparemment censurés . Tristes temps .