The Met statement said that Mr. Levine needs time “to recover from recent procedures to alleviate back pain", as reported in the New York Times by Daniel J. Wakin.
The announcement comes amidst preparations for a special May 1 gala celebrating James Levine's 40 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera.
The 67-year old conductor, who rocked the classical world earlier this month when announced that he would be stepping down as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra as of September, has been suffering from complications following spinal surgery last year. These back problems are the latest in a slew of injuries for Mr. Levine.
Mr. Levine last conducted in New York at the Juilliard School, where he led enthusiastically received performances of Smetana's The Bartered Bride. One week later, he was forced to cancel a Boston Symphony Orchestra run of Mahler's Symphony No. 9, as well as appearances at that orchestra's short spring tour.
|Met principal guest conductor Fabio Luisi|
will lead Das Rheingold.
Marco Armiliato will conduct the four scheduled performances of Il Trovatore on April 20, 23, 27 and 30.
As of this writing, Mr. Levine is still scheduled to conduct the upcoming revival of Berg's Wozzeck (opening April 6) and the company's forthcoming run of Die Walküre starring Deborah Voigt and Bryn Terfel.