James Levine cuts back on appearances at Metropolitan Opera, again
How much longer can James Levine soldier on?
The conductor's ongoing health issues recently forced him to announce his resignation as music director of the Boston Symphony. In New York, his health problems continue to have a serious effect on his main gig as music director of the Metropolitan Opera.
The Met announced on Monday that Levine will reduce his conducting dates for the rest of the current season while he continues to deal with pain in his back. Levine has withdrawn from planned performances of "Das Rheingold" on March 30 and April 2, and "Il Trovatore" on April 20, 23, 27 and 30. He will be replaced by Fabio Luisi and Marco Armiliato, respectively.
Levine, 67, is still scheduled to conduct upcoming performances of "Wozzeck" in April, as well as the company's new production of "Die Walküre" in April and May. In addition, he is set to lead two concerts at Carnegie Hall on April 10 and May 15.
Earlier this month, Levine said he will be stepping down from the top artistic position of the Boston Symphony, citing the stress of juggling two jobs at once. The conductor's health issues had forced him to miss a number of performances with the Boston orchestra.
Last season, Levine had back surgery for a herniated spinal disc, forcing him to withdraw from conducting for a few months. Later the same season, the conductor went under the knife again for corrective surgery on his back, forcing more cancellations at the Met.
His increasingly frequent cancellations have prompted speculation as to whether Levine will soon retire from the Met. But there has been no official word from the company addressing the rumors.
-- David Ng
Photo (top): James Levine. Credit: Josh Reynolds / Associated Press
Photo (bottom): A scene from the Met's production of "Das Rheingold." Credit: Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera