6 September 2011

James Levine Withdraws From Fall Performances at Metropolitan Opera Following Surgery to Correct Damaged Vertebrae

Metropolitan Opera Music Director James Levine has canceled all of his scheduled performances for the upcoming fall season — including leading new productions of Don Giovanni and Siegfried — after a fall last week damaged one of his vertebrae and necessitated emergency surgery on Thursday in New York. 

According to his doctors, Levine, who had been scheduled to begin orchestra rehearsals for the new Met season today, had been recuperating in Vermont from an earlier back surgery when the accident happened. 

The Metropolitan Opera announced today that conductor Fabio Luisi has been immediately appointed to the position of Principal Conductor at the company, and will lead the Met's performances of new stagings of Don Giovanni (which premieres on October 13) and Siegfried (premiering on October 27), as well as a Carnegie Hall concert by the MET Orchestra on October 16. 

"While Jim's latest setback is hugely disappointing for all of us, he joins me in welcoming Fabio’s larger role," Peter Gelb, the Met's General Manager, said in a statement issued today by the company. "I am very pleased that Fabio was able to rearrange his fall schedule, and I appreciate the understanding of those companies with whom he was scheduled to conduct."

To replace Levine, Luisi, who was appointed to the position of Principal Guest Conductor at the company in April 2010, canceled performances with several other companies and orchestras, including Rome Opera, the Genoa Opera, the Vienna Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. Luisi will conduct the first five performances of the company's new Don Giovanni on October 13, 17, 22, 25, and 29, as well as performances of Siegfried on October 27 and November 5. Louis Langrée will lead the remaining four performances of Don Giovanni on October 31, November 3, 7 and 11, and Derrick Inouye will lead the November 1 performance of Siegfried

According to the Met, Levine hopes to recover in time to lead the Met's new production of Götterdämmerung, which premieres on January 27, 2012, as well as the company's first full performances of Robert Lepage's new Ring cycle, which are slated to play in three cycles  between April 7 and May 12. Levine is also scheduled to lead January 15 and May 20 MET Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall. 

Levine, who underwent surgeries on May 31 and July 20 of this year to address spinal stenosis, announced in March that he intended to step down as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra on September 1, after health considerations precluded him from taking part in the orchestra's spring and summer Tanglewood seasons, as well as the Metropolitan Opera's recent tour to Japan. In April 2010, Levine withdrew from the remainder of the Met season and the entire Tanglewood season following corrective surgery for lower back problems; a surgery to repair a herniated disc in September 2009 similarly forced the conductor to withdraw from a number of Met at Boston Symphony Orchestra performances. In July 2008, Levine was forced to cancel his involvement in the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Tanglewood Season after he underwent surgery to remove a kidney that had a malignant cyst. spacer 

More information can be found at The Metropolitan Opera

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