Esteemed Conductor Bows Out Of Met Opera's 2012-2013 Season
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The orchestra pit at the Metropolitan Opera won't be filled by James Levine for a long time.
The opera's 68-year-old music director announced Friday that he'll be sitting out through the end of the 2012-2013 opera season to recover from a serious spinal injury.
“It's something that comes as a great blow, I think, to him and to his fans and to us certainly, but it's not totally unexpected,” said Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera’s general manager.
That's because Levine has already missed all of the current opera season, which began in September, after suffering a fall in August, just weeks before rehearsals were to begin.
The Opera tapped Fabio Luisi to be its principal conductor, and the Met is now looking for more replacements.
“Because of the advanced planning that opera requires in order to make sure that we don't disappoint our audiences next season, we had to go ahead engage conductors to fill in where Levine would have conducted next season,” said Gelb.
Opera lovers NY1 spoke with reacted to the news of the extended absence of Levine, who has had health problems in recent years.
“He brings such a unique energy to the house and a real energy and a gift that is very contagious, and I think it influences the artist, and I think it really brings the work to a very high level,” said Mark Nimar, an opera fan.
“He's very good at what he does, and it'll be two years, and who knows if he'll be able to come back at that point,” said Mary Burke, another enthusiast.
While Levine won't be conducting anytime soon, he'll keep his role as music director. The Met says he is hoping to resume coaching and artistic planning sometime soon.