Conductor James Levine's Worrisome Health Problems
Maestro Jamaes Levine ,66, will have to cancel his performances with the Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony orchestra , both of which he serves as music director , for the rest of the musical season because of severe back trouble .
The world-famous conductor has been plagued by health problems for some time now , including back trouble, arm tremors , the removal of cysts from a kidney and an accident onstage after a concert which broke the rotator cuff on a shoulder , forcing him to cancel many performances of both copncerts and opera .
There has even been speculation that he might have to step down from either the Boston Symphony or the Met , and both of these great musical institutions and Levine's many admirers are worried about his uncertain future after so many years of great musical achievements . The heavy responsibilities of being music director for both have taken a toll on his health .
Levine's ailments have forced the Met and BSO to struggle to find substitute conductors to fill in for him , but fortunately a number of distinguished maestros, such as Fabio Luisi, Edo De Waart and Rafael Fruhbeck De Burgos and others have been able to replace him at short notice , and the Met does has a staff of able house conductors who can step in at a moment's notice .
Levine may have to miss concerts and teaching at the world-famous Summer home of the Boston Symphony , the Tanglewood festival in Massachusetts , and it's hoped he will be able to begin the much-anticipated new Ring cycle which begins at the Met this September on opening night .
The maestro is hardly alone in such health problems today ; former BSO music director Seiji Ozawa has recently been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagous but is expected to recover and has had to cancel his performances at the Vienna State opera where he is music director , Leonard Slatkin, who recently withdrew from the Met's Traviata performances and is currently music director of the Detroit Symphony had a recent heart attack but has recovered , and the opera world has been plagued with cancellations by quite a few top singers .
The bright side of such cancellations is that they can provide career-making breaks for promising young talents . Back in the 1940s, the 25 year old assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic had to fill in at the last minute for the great conductor Bruno Walter (1876-1962), and the concert was a sensation . That was the young Leonard Bernstein , and it launched his legendary career .
You never know what may happen because of such unfotunate cancellations .Meanwhile, let's all wish maestro levine a speedy recovery .