in: News & Features

March 22, 2010

B S O Music Director James Levine withdraws from rest of season.

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Maestro Levine will miss the remainder of the season, citing back problems for the cancellation. “This has been a difficult year for James Levine and we wish him the very best as he works with his doctors towards resolving his ongoing back problems,” said BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe. Jayce Ogren will conduct the world premiere of Peter Lieberson’s Songs of Love and Sorrow on March 25, 26, and 27. Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos will conduct Mendelssohn’s Elijah on April 1,2, and 3. The conductor for the program on April 8, 9, and 10, featuring John Harbison’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with soloists Mira Wang and Jan Vogler and Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, will be announced later this week.

6 Comments

  1. Jayce Ogren, now assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra, has Boston ties. He received his M.M. in 2003 from New England Conservatory, where he studied conducting under Charles Peltz. We’re all very proud of him–particularly taking on this program with a world premiere at short notice. Bravo, Jayce!

    Comment by Ellen Pfeifer — March 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

  2. What a shame that James Levine won’t be able to conduct the two world premieres. I’m sure no one is more disappointed than he. I was looking forward to both, and there is the, perhaps inevitable, fear that they will not get quite the performance they deserve in other hands. Of course, we have yet to learn whether the conductor for the Harbison is of Mr. Levine’s caliber. Mr. Ogren may prove to be top-notch, but it remains to be seen, and heard.

    And how fortunate that Maestro Frühbeck is available for the “Elijah.” Saldy, I won’t be able to attend, but certainly the oratorio is in great hands.

    Comment by Joe Whipple — March 24, 2010 at 11:17 am

  3. For those watching BSO developments, last year they announced Levine’s 2009-10 programs on Feb. 20 and the season in full on April 17.

    At the Met, Levine’s schedule calls for 4 “Tosca” performances April 14-24 and 3 of “Lulu” May 8-15. I don’t think anyone else has ever conducted Lulu at the Met.

    Then he has a gala concert and two performances of “Meistersinger” in June celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Cincinnati Opera.

    Comment by Bill — March 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

  4. If he can’t do two hours —including intermission — with the BSO, how can he possibly do four “Toscas” and three “Lulus” to say nothing of “Meistersinger”? These operas must be more of a strain than the symphony concerts. If I were in BSO management, I’d want to tell him that if he does any of these, he’d better be fit for duty at Tanglewood, because if he does these other things and pulls up lame at Tanglewood, it will show that BSO is not a priority for him.

    That said, I’d be very surprised if he keeps those Met and Cinci dates. Every time he conducts before he is completely recovered, he jeoopardizes the rest of his potential career. He must realize that by now.

    Maybe he should think about “Tales of Hoffmann,” with Antonia, who causes her by performing when her health will not permit it. He mustn’t permit his eagerness to conduct overcome his need to recover fully before returning to the podium..

    Comment by Joe Whipple — March 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm

  5. Previous comment should read ” …Antonia, who causes her own death by performing….”

    Comment by Joe Whipple — March 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm

  6. I see by today’s newsprint journal that Maestro Levine “will have a second back operation and will miss the rest of his … Metropolitan Opera season.”

    This is very not good.

    The story goes on to say that he is still scheduled for Tanglewood on July 9. I certainly hope the surgery will be a complete success and that he will return soon to the podium and experience no further physical problems. But the ongoing incapacities do not bode well. This only reinforces the concern I expressed a week ago that he must give himself all the time he needs to make a complete recovery, rather than rushing back to work at the earliest possible moment.

    Comment by Joe Whipple — April 5, 2010 at 7:47 pm

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