Today's Classical Music Video

Friday, April 16, 2010

James Levine Conducts Verdi

Once again, James Levine has been struck down with a major health issue. He is due to undergo surgery for a herniated disc very soon. Since 2006 it has been one thing after another - rotator cuff injury, cancerous cyst on a kidney and more - for the long-time Metropolitan Opera conductor, and the health problems have taken a heavy toll. Levine has been forced to cancel dozens of concert and opera performances, and for several years now he has conducted sitting down.

During his prime years at the Met, the 66-year old Levine regularly conducted far more performances than his predecessors. He seemed to be an iron man. But even iron men have to slow down sooner or later. And then he added the music directorship of the Boston Symphony. For a time, Levine got spectacular results after the lethargy of the later Ozawa years, but lengthy absences due to illness have made him an infrequent visitor to Boston. Frustration is beginning to show from both the Boston management and players. Can Levine really continue as music director? A lot depends on the results of his impending surgery.

Levine has been authoritative in a wide repertoire at the Met, most notably in the operas of Wagner and Verdi. In this video from 2001 he conducts the overture to Verdi's Nabucco.

Paul E. Robinson



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