According to the Met’s press release, Levine suffered a fall last week that damaged a vertebrae and underwent emergency surgery on Thursday in New York. Levine was to begin rehearsals with the orchestra today. The accident occurred while Levine was on vacation in Vermont, as he was recovering from another back surgery.
Fabio Luisi, who made his Met debut in 2005 with a performance of “Don Carlo,” will step in as principal conductor for the Met, and will take over most of Levine’s scheduled performances, including “Don Giovanni” and “Siegfried.” Last season, he conducted the Met’s “Das Rheingold.” Luisi has cancelled appearances with the Rome Opera, the Genoa Opera, the Vienna Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony in order to accommodate the change. Levine will continue to hold his post as the Met’s music director.
Peter Gelb, the Met’s General Manager, in a statement said,
While Jim’s latest setback is hugely disappointing for all of us, he joins me in welcoming Fabio’s larger role. 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.”
The maestro has suffered from a variety of health problems for the past few years, forcing him to curtail the number of performances he conducted for the Met in 2010. He resigned his position as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s musical director this March.