When asked about the statement, Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, said, “It’s a sad state of affairs, but of course our investigation has to continue.”
James Lestock, 67, said on Thursday evening that he stood by his account.
“He is lying,” he said of Mr. Levine’s statement in an email. “The examples of instigating sex with a minor, physical abuse using physical pain leading to break down crying, all happened. I will take a lie-detector test. Will he?”
Mr. Lestock said that he was a 17-year-old cello student at Meadow Brook when he was abused in Mr. Levine’s dorm room. He described numerous later incidents of abuse; he said that once Mr. Levine had pinched him painfully until he cried, and then continued pinching him, to wound him.
And Chris Brown, 66, who played principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for more than three decades, stood by his account that Mr. Levine had abused him the summer before his senior year in high school, when he was 17.
“Sexual abuse at any age is inexcusable,” he said. “Further, belittling those of us who were abused as less than fully human is repugnant. I stand by the story.”
Mr. Levine issued his statement on Thursday night after the Met announced that it had found replacements for most of the operas he had been scheduled to conduct this season. The company said that Marco Armiliato would conduct the Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” and Bertrand de Billy would lead Verdi’s “Luisa Miller.”
The accusations of sexual abuse have shaken the company and opera fans. On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Gelb sought to reassure some of the company’s core supporters at a previously scheduled Metropolitan Opera Guild luncheon honoring the soprano Renée Fleming.
“As everyone in this room knows, the Met has recently been facing a very painful and challenging trial,” he told the guests who had gathered at Cipriani 42nd Street. “But while the Metropolitan Opera has been shaken, it still stands strong.”
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 its previous trials, including a disastrous fire in 1892 and the recession of 2008.
“The Met’s greatness is a collective effort,” he said. “It’s 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.”
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