For seven years, James Levine has been splitting his time three ways: leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra, presiding over the musical side of the Metropolitan Opera, and sitting out large chunks of both institutions’ seasons in alternating bouts of pain and recovery.
Says Justin Davidson in New York Magazine.
Levine has had sciatica, a hand tremor, and surgeries to repair a rotator cuff, remove a kidney, and relieve his back pain.
Not surprising then that he’s decided to let go of the BSO reins. But Davidson goes further.
Levine’s latest health crisis has prodded the BSO to hurry along a future it’s been deferring for years. The Met has more leeway to renegotiate a relationship with a musician who’s given it 40 astounding years and who still has plenty to offer on the podium even if he’s no longer in charge. But even if he’s in fine fettle for the anniversary gala on May 1, the time has come to make him conductor laureate for life and hand the keys to someone else.