The Metropolitan Opera’s music director, James Levine, has withdrawn from the company's schedule for the rest of this year following the latest in a series of health problems. The conductor suffered a fall on a recent holiday in Vermont, damaging his vertebrae, and underwent emergency surgery last Thursday in New York. He had been recovering in Vermont from operations to correct the spinal condition, stenosis.
While Levine will remain as music director for the foreseeable future, the Met’s principal guest conductor, Italian-born Fabio Luisi, has now been promoted to the role of principal conductor. He will take on the majority of Levine’s autumn projects, including a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, opening October 13, and the initial performances of Wagner’s Siegfried, premiering October 27.
“While Jim’s latest setback is hugely disappointing for all of us, he joins me in welcoming Fabio’s larger role,” said Met general manager Peter Gelb. “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.”
Levine says he “hopes to recover in time to return to the Met in January 2012, for the new production of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung" and for the complete Ring cycles in April and May.