James Levine Returns
This morning’s New York Times carries a front page story on the impending return to conducting of James Levine, who has been benched since March, 2011. Progressive illnesses, a Parkinson’s-like disorder, and spinal surgery made a perfect storm. He resigned his post as Music Director of the Boston Symphony, and withdrew from performances at the Met, where has has served as Music Director since 1976.
“I’m overwhelmingly happy to be coming back…it’s like a miracle for me.”
Levine can no longer walk and will conduct from a special motorized chair.
His most recent appearances saw him drawn, haggard, and moving gingerly, obviously in pain.
He is already working inside the Met, and will resume conducting next season. A daunting schedule for anyone, but a breeze for the Levine of former days, who has given 2,500 performances at the Met alone.
In 2012-2013 he returns to conduct Cosi fan Tutte, Falstaff and Wozzeck. He resumes his Carnegie Hall concerts with the Met Orchestra, as well.
It will be moving and exciting to see an old lion return to the Met. At his debut in 1971, conducting Tosca“, Speight Jenkins wrote in the New York Post: “Levine should have a great career ahead of him; the Cincinnati-born maestro, at only 28, has obviously won the respect of the choosy and temperamental Met orchestra.”
Lest we forget, here he is in action. Levine’s Wagner, his Pelleas et Melisande and his Verdi are the stuff of dreams:
I can’t wait to hear Levine conduct Mozart, Verd,i and Berg. Like him, we will all become young again.