Injured James Levine Withdraws From Fall Met Performances

Classic Arts Features   Injured James Levine Withdraws From Fall Met Performances
After a fall last week that damaged one of his vertebrae, James Levine underwent emergency surgery on Thursday in New York, forcing him to withdraw from his performances at the Metropolitan Opera this fall. Fabio Luisi has been named Met Principal Conductor.


Levine was scheduled to begin orchestra rehearsals for the new season this week. According to his doctors, he was successfully recuperating from another back surgery when the accident happened while he was on vacation in Vermont.

While Levine will continue in his position as Music Director, Fabio Luisi has been named the Met’s Principal Conductor, with the new appointment taking effect immediately. In April 2010, Luisi was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Met. He will replace Levine for most of the fall performances, conducting the new productions of Don Giovanni (premiering October 13) and Siegfried (premiering October 27), as well as the MET Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall on October 16.

“While Jim’s latest setback is hugely disappointing for all of us, he joins me in welcoming Fabio’s larger role,” said Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager. “I am very pleased that Fabio was able to rearrange his fall schedule, and I appreciate the understanding of those companies with whom he was scheduled to conduct.”

In order to replace Levine, Luisi had to cancel performances with the Rome Opera, the Genoa Opera, the Vienna Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony.

Luisi will conduct the first five performances of Don Giovanni on October 13, 17, 22, 25, and 29 matinee, and Siegfried on October 27 and November 5 matinee. Louis Langrée will conduct the remaining four performances of Don Giovanni on October 31, November 3, 7, and 11. Derrick Inouye will conduct Siegfried on November 1.

Levine hopes to recover in time to return to the Met in January for the new production of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung (premiering January 27, 2012), as well as for the full cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen in April and May.

Levine has had previous surgeries to address spinal stenosis, the most recent on May 31 and July 20 of this year. He is scheduled to conduct Götterdämmerung from January 27 to February 11, Das Rheingold on April 4, and three complete cycles of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen between April 7 and May 12.

He is also scheduled to conduct concerts with the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on January 15 and May 20. Levine, who made his Met debut on June 5, 1971 conducting Tosca, celebrated his 40th anniversary with the Met last season.

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