Medication change may prolong Levine's career

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Ted Quanrud
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Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by Ted Quanrud » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:51 am

The New York Times reports that James Levine's neurologist believes a change in Parkinson's medication may allow the conductor to extend his career at the Met. One can only hope for the very best for the Maestro.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/03/arts/ ... v=top-news

John F
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by John F » Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:20 am

The story contains some startling news, such as that Levine has Parkinson's Disease, that I hadn't seen before or suspected. And it's dismaying that he and the Met were on the verge of announcing his retirement at the end of this season. Let's hope his doctor can get his medication right, this time, and we don't lose him.

The nearly simultaneous news that Fabio Luisi is taking on yet another opera company appointment and ceasing to be the Met's chief conductor would seem to indicate that he's not a candidate to be Levine's successor at the Met. I can't say I'm sorry. But I have no candidate of my own for that job, and if we flash back to Levine's Met debut in 1971, or even to his appointment as principal conductor less than a year later, no one could possibly have foreseen that he was precisely the right man for the job, becoming the first music director in the Met's history. Frankly, I doubt that Peter Gelb or any other general manager of an opera company would take such a chance today, and when the time comes for Levine to step down - still possibly next May - I expect the search will be for a name conductor who's a well-known quantity. We shall see.
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by THEHORN » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:19 am

John, I think Luisi would have been an excellent choice to succeed Levine at the Met, and he's done a lot of really fine work there and is respected and admired by everybody in the company . But his international career is just taking him too many places . Now that Franz Welser-Most has resigned from the Vienna State opera, it might be a good idea to have him at the Met on a frequent basis .

maestrob
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by maestrob » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:56 pm

THEHORN wrote:John, I think Luisi would have been an excellent choice to succeed Levine at the Met, and he's done a lot of really fine work there and is respected and admired by everybody in the company . But his international career is just taking him too many places . Now that Franz Welser-Most has resigned from the Vienna State opera, it might be a good idea to have him at the Met on a frequent basis .
Robert, I agree with you about Luisi: I think he did very well in his stint at the MET, and will be sorely missed. I'm not so sure about Welser-Most, but only because I haven't heard him do opera.

John F
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by John F » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:46 pm

Luisi is certainly a capable opera conductor but, for me, not an inspiring one. That aside, he got the job as Levine's substitute because he happened to be free at the right time, having walked out of Dresden over a dispute with management over who would conduct a televised New Year's concert. That, and his current accumulation of three musical directorships - in Zurich, Copenhagen, and Florence, none of them an irresistable top-tier job, raises a serious question whether he can be trusted to put the Met first and devote himself to it through thick and thin, including occasional disagreements with its strong-willed general manager. His giving up the title of principal conductor at the Met suggests how he and the Met have already answered that question.
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by THEHORN » Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:37 pm

Maestro b, I've seen several performances conducted by Welser-Most on DVD when he was music director of the Zurich opera , and they are all excellent . They include repertoire as diverse as Britten's Peter Grimes,
Schubert's long forgotten Fierrabras , Tiefland by D'Albert and Rossini's Il Turco in Italia .

John F
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by John F » Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:37 pm

Welser-Möst was general music director of the Vienna State Opera from 2010 until 2014, when he quit abruptly and left the company in the lurch on the eve of a major European tour, giving as his reason unspecified but irreconcileable differences over artistic matters. Granted that the State Opera is one of those organizations whose music directors have a way of walking out (Karajan and Maazel too), the Met doesn't need a music director with a history of walking out for whatever reason. Cf. my comments on Fabio Luisi.
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:43 am

I've heard FWM conduct several operas and big choral works in concert. Also directed Zurich Opera before Vienna. He is no Levine, who is?, but is just as fine as Luisi. Indeed opera and choral are one of his specialties. What about Pappano? Nezet-Sequin?

stenka razin
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by stenka razin » Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:10 am

THEHORN wrote:Maestro b, I've seen several performances conducted by Welser-Most on DVD when he was music director of the Zurich opera , and they are all excellent . They include repertoire as diverse as Britten's Peter Grimes,
Schubert's long forgotten Fierrabras , Tiefland by D'Albert and Rossini's Il Turco in Italia .
I agree with your assessment of Wesler-Mosts's operatic achievements on DVD and Bluray, too. He would be an excellent choice for the Met.

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AlanM
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by AlanM » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:29 am

Why hasn't anyone suggested Alan Gilbert as Levine's successor? Everyone else has been mentioned. I look forward to his staging on the stage of Das Rheingold next year. Will it be as interesting as some of his previous Philharmonic semi-stagings? We shall see.

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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by John F » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:50 am

A couple of people have mentioned that possibility to me. I don't think it's likely; Gilbert hasn't had much experience as an opera conductor and his repertoire here has been small and skewed. A possibility for the future, if James Levine can hang in there for a few more years.

Another New Yorker just occurred to me: James Conlon, born in Queens. An outstanding opera conductor with decades of experience and long tenures in Cologne and Los Angeles in his résumé, he might actually be available and willing when and if.
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:31 pm

John F wrote:A couple of people have mentioned that possibility to me. I don't think it's likely; Gilbert hasn't had much experience as an opera conductor and his repertoire here has been small and skewed. A possibility for the future, if James Levine can hang in there for a few more years.

Another New Yorker just occurred to me: James Conlon, born in Queens. An outstanding opera conductor with decades of experience and long tenures in Cologne and Los Angeles in his résumé, he might actually be available and willing when and if.
Yes, I agree with you about James Conlon, who actually trained at Juilliard with Jean Morel, who was also Levine's teacher. While we're thinking along those lines, there's also Myung-Whun Chung, who also studied with Morel and has led the Bastille Opera, among other positions.

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John F
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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by John F » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:58 pm

I wouldn't have thought of Chung, though actually he has conducted at the Met (Verdi and Puccini) - not since 1998, however. His Wikipedia article gives the impression that since the 1990s he has put opera behind him. After five years at the Opera-Bastille - he was appointed at short notice after Daniel Barenboim resigned in a dispute with the French government about repertoire - he's been almost exclusively an orchestra conductor. A very long shot, then, but maybe a possibility.
John Francis

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Re: Medication change may prolong Levine's career

Post by THEHORN » Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:16 pm

John, conditions at the Met are very different from the Vienna State opera , where there is such a long history of intrigue against eminent conductors, so Welser-Most might be much happier at the Met than in Vienna . He should at least be there to conduct something . Alan Gilbert was music director of the Santa Fe opera until fairly recently . And he did a superb job at the Met conducting "Doctor Atomic " by John Adams .

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