Levine to return to Met next season

October 12, 2012

James Levine will return to the Metropolitan Opera next season, conducting three operas in 2013-14, as well as all of the Met Orchestra’s Carnegie Hall concerts.

The Met released a statement Thursday night that the company’s ailing music director had recovered sufficiently from a fall and spinal injuries in 2011 to allow him to return to conducting. Levine’s six-year tenure as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra was similarly hobbled by ill health and repeated cancellations.

“I’m feeling better with each passing day and look forward to returning to the company that I love so much,” said Levine in a statement released by the Met. Company general manager Peter Gelb added, “Jim’s return to conducting is the welcome news that our company has long been waiting for, and it is also great news for opera lovers throughout the world.”

The 69-year-old conductor will lead revivals of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Berg’s Wozzeck, as well as a new production of Verdi’s Falstaff.

A fall in August 2011 left Levine partially paralyzed, but his doctors said that surgery and long-term rehabilitation has allowed Levine to regain enough ability to resume his conducting career. He no longer has the ability to walk, the release disclosed, but will conduct from a motorized wheelchair. The conductor also suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

Levine’s return event will be a concert at Carnegie Hall May 19, 2013 when he will conduct the Met Orchestra.

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