Fitter and Slimmer, James Levine Is Upbeat About Returning to the Podium

Classic Arts News   Fitter and Slimmer, James Levine Is Upbeat About Returning to the Podium
James Levine, who has spent the last four months recovering from a shoulder injury, said in an interview with The Boston Globe yesterday that he is feeling better than he has in years.

Levine, the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera, tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder when he fell while leaving the stage after a BSO concert on March 1. He underwent surgery in New York on March 20, and was ordered by his doctors to take four months off; he missed a BSO tour, the remainder of the Met season and the Met's tour to Japan.

Levine, 63, said in previous interviews that he would use the recovery time, the longest he has spent away from the stage in his more-than-30-year conducting career, to lose weight and become fitter. His new diet and exercise program seems to have worked: he told the Globe that he has lost 35 pounds and plans to shed 15 more. The paper describes him as "noticeably slimmer and sprier."

Levine opens the BSO's summer season at the Tanglewood Festival in western Massachusetts on July 7 with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 — the same program he conducted on March 1. During his five weeks at Tanglewood, Levine will conduct nine concerts and lead more than 30 rehearsals.

He told the paper that both of his bosses, BSO managing director Mark Volpe and Met general manager Peter Gelb, will consider lightening his workload offstage if he needs more rest, but Levine is positive that he will manage fine.

"I love to make music more than anything," he told the Globe. "I can't imagine my life without music."

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