James Levine Withdraws from Met Conducting Assignments Through the End of Next Season
New York, NY – Music Director James Levine will not conduct at the Metropolitan Opera for the remainder of this season, or during the 2012-13 season, in order to allow for a full recovery from the spinal injury he suffered last August. After falling while on vacation last summer, Levine underwent emergency surgery that forced him to withdraw from his performances in the first part of this season.
Due to the severe injury to his spinal cord, Levine’s doctors have said that his post-operative recovery will be a long-term process. Since September he has been at a rehabilitation facility, which he will be leaving shortly. While his condition has greatly improved in recent months, it is uncertain exactly when he will be fully recovered and able to return to conducting.
Following recent consultations with Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager, Levine has decided not to conduct for the remainder of the current season, or for the entire 2012-13 season. Although he might be ready to start conducting sooner, the decision about next season had to be made now in order to secure the services of replacement conductors for the works Levine had been scheduled to lead. The Met’s 2012-13 season and casting will be announced this coming February.
“While this is a blow to Jim, our company, and his many fans, we want to make it possible for him to eventually return to the Met,” said Gelb. “The extended time off will give him the opportunity to recover fully, while also providing the Met with the chance to offer the best replacement conductors for next season.”
As Levine continues his recovery, it is anticipated that he will gradually resume his other Music Director duties including coaching and planning, and artistic leadership of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
Luisi, who has already substituted for Levine this season leading the new productions of Don Giovanni, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung, will also conduct the the cycles of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen this coming April and May, with the exception of the last two performances of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung on May 9 and May 12 matinee. Conductors for those two performances will be announced shortly.
The conductor who will replace Levine for the Met Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall on May 20 will also be announced shortly.
As planned, Luisi will conduct the new production of Manon, which premieres March 26, and the revival of La Traviata, which opens April 6, although he will be replaced for the last four performances of the Traviata run (April 21, 25, 28, and May 2) to allow for the Ring performances he will be taking on. The replacement conductor for the four La Traviata dates will be announced shortly.