The Metropolitan Opera continued to grapple on Thursday with the suspension of its music director emeritus, James Levine, while it investigates accusations of sexual abuse against him, naming his replacements in two more operas and trying to reassure some of the companyâs core supporters.
At a long-scheduled Metropolitan Opera Guild luncheon â where dozens of tables of opera patrons and several generations of Met stars had gathered to pay tribute to the soprano RenÃ©e Fleming â the companyâs general manager, Peter Gelb, alluded to the crisis.
âAs everyone in this room knows, the Met has recently been facing a very painful and challenging trial,â he told the guests who had gathered at Cipriani 42nd Street. âBut while the Metropolitan Opera has been shaken, it still stands strong.â
Mr. Levine â who was the Metâs music director for four decades, and the honoree at the Guildâs luncheon four years ago â was suspended by the Met on Sunday after four men accused him of sexually abusing them decades ago, when they were either teenagers or students of his. The Met appointed Robert J. Cleary, a partner at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to investigate the accusations as it weighs Mr. Levineâs future.
Mr. Gelb never mentioned Mr. Levine by name at the lunch. But he emphasized that the Met was greater than any one individual, and spoke of the trials it survived in the past, including a disastrous fire in 1892 and the recession of 2008.
âThe Metâs greatness is a collective effort,â he said. âItâs the grand result of thousands of artists and artisans who create operatic magic on our stage and in the pit night after night, season after season, and decade after decade. â