9 December 2011

James Levine Withdraws from Met Conducting Assignments Through May 2013; Fabio Luisi to Conduct Spring 2012 Ring Cycles

The Metropolitan Opera announced today that music director James Levine has withdrawn from all conducting assignments in the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons, allowing more time for Levine to recover from emergency back surgery performed last August. Fabio Luisi — tapped as the company's principal conductor last September — will conduct ten of the twelve individual peformances of the company's three Ring cycles, in addition to the MET Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall on May 20 .

"I do not want to risk having to withdraw from performances after the season has been announced and tickets sold," said Levine in a prepared statement. "The Met’s 2012–13 season needs to be finalized, and the best conductors available must be contracted now." The Met will announce its 2012–13 season in February.

Levine also said that he intended to resume his responsibilities as music director. "I will continue to collaborate with Peter Gelb on long-term artistic plans, work with the artistic administration on future planning, coach singers, and work with the participants in the Lindemann Young Artist Development program," he said.

The Met announced in September that Levine would withdraw from Fall 2011 performances, after injuring his spinal chord while on vacation in August and undergoing emergency back surgery. Levine clarified in his statement that the surgery in August was not related to three prior back surgeries addressing his condition of stenosis, and that the emergency surgery did not compromise those surgeries. "The [stenosis] has been successfully resolved, and I am no longer in any pain," Levine said. The conductor has been in a rehabilitation facility since September.

Luisi will conduct nearly all of the Met's April and May Ring cycles (cycle one: Apr. 7, 13, 21m, 24; cycle two: Apr. 26, 28m, 30, May 3; cycle three: May 5, 7) and will lead the May 20 MET Orchestra concert with violinist Christian Tetzlaff. Luisi also conducts Spring performances of Robert Lepage's Götterdämmerung (Jan. 27, 31, Feb. 3, 7, 11m, Apr. 24) and Laurent Pelly's Manon (Mar. 26, 31, Apr. 3, 7m, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23) as previously announced. The Met has not named a conductor for performances of La Traviata (Apr. 21, 25, 28, May 2), Siegfried (May 9m) and Götterdämmerung (May 12m). spacer 


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