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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

James Levine Falls, Cancels Fall Performances

Fabio Luisi named Principal Conductor at the Met
James Levine will not conduct Don Giovanni and Siegfried this fall.
Conductor James Levine has suffered another setback on his long road to recovery. At a press conference this morning, Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb announced that Mr. Levine will not conduct the company's new productions of Don Giovanni and Siegfried.

In addition, Mr. Gelb promoted Fabio Luisi as the Met's new Principal Conductor, effective immediately. Mr. Luisi, who spent much of 2010 and 2011 subbing in for Mr. Levine, will conduct the premieres of Don Giovanni on Oct. 13 and Siegfried on Oct. 27. Mr. Levine will remain as Music Director.

Mr. Levine was rushed for emergency surgery after falling while on vacation in Vermont. The conductor has a long history of medical problems, including shoulder injuries, back injuries and a battle with cancer. These medical problems have forced Mr. Levine to conduct while sitting down, and ultimately cost him his position as the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

However, Mr. Levine bounced back in April, focusing on his Met commitments and leading spectacular readings of Berg's Wozzeck and Wagner's Die Walküre. However, he stepped down from the BSO and cancelled his commitment to this summer's Tanglewood festival, citing doctors' orders and the need for six months of rest. The BSO was forced to scramble to find conductors for its summer season.

According to a report in the New York Times, the Met's 2011-2012 Don Giovanni performances will be split between Mr. Luisi and Louis Langrée, the French conductor who leads Mostly Mozart. Mr. Luisi will conduct Siegfried, with one performance led by up-and-coming conductor Derrick Inouye.

This morning's rehearsal of Götterdämmerung (which is scheduled to premiere on Jan. 27, 2012, completing the Met's new production of the Ring) was cancelled. It is not known whether Mr. Levine will be recovered in time to conduct these winter performances of the six-hour opera, or whether he will be able to lead the three complete Ring cycle slotted for April and May of next year.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.