Following a series of sexual abuse allegations made against James Levine, the Metropolitan Opera suspended its music director emeritus. In the wake of the prominent maestro’s absence, the house was pushed to find conductors to assume his scheduled engagements, beginning with the premiere of a new Tosca. The David McVicar staging opens in a New Year’s Eve gala performance.
Dallas Opera music director Emmanuel Villaume, who conducted Thaïs at the house earlier this year, will take over for the December 31 gala premiere, as well as the performances January 3, 6, 9, 12, 23, and 27.
Levine was reported to step in earlier this summer, initially assuming the position from Andris Nelsons. Nelsons departed the production shortly after the Met announced Sonya Yoncheva would take on the title role for the first string of performances, replacing Kristine Opolais (Nelsons’ wife).
As scheduled, Gareth Morrell, who has previously served as Levine’s assistant conductor for various productions, will take the podium January 18, and Bertrand de Billy will conduct when the staging returns to the house with a new cast (including Anna Netrebko in the title role) in April.
Replacements for the January 15 performance, as well as the presentations of Verdi’s Luisa Miller and Il Trovatore that Levine was to conduct this season, will be announced at a later time.