James Levine Cancels This Weekend's Verbier Festival Appearances

Classic Arts News   James Levine Cancels This Weekend's Verbier Festival Appearances
For health reasons, conductor James Levine has withdrawn from his appearances at this summer's Verbier Festival and Academy in the Swiss Alps. He was scheduled to lead the festival's opening concert this evening as well as a program on Sunday (July 22) featuring the Mozart Requiem.

Filling in for Levine at both concerts will be Manfred Honeck, who in January was appointed the next music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony and who this fall begins a term as music director of the Stuttgart State Opera.

"It is with great sadness that I have to cancel my two concerts with my wonderful orchestra," Levine said in a statement released by the festival this week. (He was referring to the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, founded by Levine in 2000 and made up of students at and alumni of the festival's renowned Academy.) "My doctors have strongly advised me not to travel but to stay calm and collect my energies."

Levine has been conducting the Boston Symphony at the Tanglewood Music Center this summer, beginning with the orchestra's first concert of the season there on July 6 and with Mahler's epic Third Symphony last Saturday (July 14).

BSO spokesperson Bernadette Horgan told PlaybillArts today that Levine is still at Tanglewood, that he is up and about and working with students, and that he plans to conduct all of his scheduled concerts there, including next Saturday's Verdi Don Carlo (July 28, starring Patricia Racette, Johan Botha and James Morris), Berlioz's Damnation de Faust (with Marcello Giordani, Jos_ van Dam and Yvonne Naef) on August 18, and Boston Symphony concerts on three successive Fridays in August.

She also confirmed that Levine expects to conduct the BSO, as announced, for its European tour from August 26 through September 7, including multiple concerts at the Lucerne Festival and the BBC Proms.

Levine's health has been a concern to observers for the past few years, as he has struggled with sciatica and intermittent tremors in his left hand and arm. In the spring of 2006, he took a four-month break (the longest of his career) to recover from a torn rotator cuff; when he returned to work that summer (at the opening concert of last year's Tanglewood Festival), he said that he felt better than he had in years.

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