New York Times: Levine should bid Met Opera adieu

Posted on: May 23, 2011

In Sunday’s (5/22) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Despite the frustration he has endured from lingering back problems, James Levine should be feeling some contentment right now. On May 14, the last day of the Metropolitan Opera’s season, he conducted the final performance of Wagner’s ‘Walküre’ in the new Robert Lepage production. Once again, he was too frail to walk onstage for a bow. But throughout this matinee performance, broadcast live in HD to an estimated 175,000 people in movie theaters worldwide, Mr. Levine was a kinetic presence in the pit, swiveling on his chair as he made big, looping gestures with his arms. … Having cleared his schedule for the next five months, Mr. Levine, 67, is determined to recuperate and be back at the Met for a new production of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ in October. His 40-year association with the Met, all but two years in leadership roles, is a staggering milestone. But the time has come for Mr. Levine to make his next contribution to the company he loves and step aside as music director. The Met needs someone new in that demanding post. Peter Gelb, the general manager, has all but designated Fabio Luisi, the principal guest conductor, to take over if need be. In recent seasons, Mr. Luisi has thrived at the house and earned widespread support from the orchestra.”

Posted May 23, 2011