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New Book Celebrates James Levine's 40 Years At The Metropolitan Opera

  Amadeus Press , which specializes in books on classical music , has recently come out with a book  on the illustrious career of the great but  currently ailing American conductor James Levine (1943-) , and his 40 association with the Metropolitan opera .  It's a collection of tributes to the maestro by numerous  renowned singers with whom he has worked over the years , fellow conductors , music critics, contemporary composers and others who have also been associated with him .

   Among the great singers are Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo, Lucian Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, Montserrat Caballe, Kiri Te Kanawa, Jon Vickers, Cornell McNeill, Jose Van Dam, Teresa Stratas, Leonie Rysanek, Kurt Moll , Birgit Nilsson, Marilyn Horne, Frederica Von Stade, Leontyne Price and many others - a virtual who's who of the greatest names in opera in our time and the late 20th century .

   There are numerous handsome color photos of the sets of many of the operas he has conducted at the Met , including  Wagner's Ring , Verdi's Otello , Berg's Wozzeck , Puccini's Turandot , Les Troyens by Berlioz , Mozart's The Magic Flute and others . 

   You might be suspicious about the  relentlessly lavish praise which so many distinguished people offer to him in this book, but they appear to be absolutely sincere .  Levine is acknowledgfed to be enormously gifted ,  dedicated , boundlessly enthusiastic  and amazingly energetic , as well as  a kind  ,  patient , tactful  and likeable , these last characteristics not being characteristics one normally associates with great conductors , many of whom have been  downright tyrannical with  singers and orchestra musicians .

   Members of the Met  orchestra  acknowledge his  enormous knowledge , technical skill  and inspiring leadershp  , and singers  have always loved working with him .  In his 40 years at the Met , Levine  made a staggeringly great  contribution to the company and accomplished  an astonishing number of things . Among them are transforming the Met orchestra into one of the finest in the world  and initiating a series of orchestra concerts with it , helping many gifted young opera singers ot reach their full potentila with  regular coaching ,  expanding the Met's repertoire enormously , introducing  such operatic masterpieces as Berg's Lulu, Mozart's Idomeneo ,  Benvenuto Cellini by Berlioz ,  Schoenberg's Moses & Aron , Verdi's I Vesrpri Siciliani , Gershwin's Porgy and Bess , and world premieres of operas by John Corigliano and John Harbison .

   Other Met premieres which he did not conduct include  Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Shostakovich , Dvorak's Rusalka, Prokofiev's War and Peace and The Gambler , Handel's Giulio Cesare , Rodelinada and Rinaldo , Verdi's Attila, Janacek's  Katya Kabanova, The Makropoulos Case and From the House of the Dead , The Dialogues of the Carmelites by Poulenc ,  Satyagraha and The Voyage by Philip Glass, Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic by John Adams, The First Emperor by Tan Dun ,  etc.

   The book also includes a list of all  of the operas Levine has conducted at the Met,( over 80 !  )and the numbers of perfornances of each he has led , all of the Met premieres  during his tenure , opening nights he has ocnducted , his numerous PBS telecast performances ,  and a discography of the numerous recordings  he has nmade with  the company, including complete operas by Wagner, Mozart, Verdi, and Donizetti  for  Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical and Decca  records . 

   No one ever deserved this kind of  book more than  James Levine . Let's wish him a  total recovery from his current ailments and many more years with the Metropolitan opera .


Posted: Mar 28 2012, 09:18 PM by the horn | with no comments
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