Cher Public

Levine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

“[James] Levine is annoyed by the question of why the Metropolitan goes through the expense of restaging operas. ‘There’s every reason to do a new Aida, burnt costumes or no. How many years can you ask your subscribers to see the same production? That’s one reason. Another is that once you’ve seen a production or played it a number of times the flaws in it become more irritating. Time marches on and the production remains the same. Nothing should remain frozen in the performing arts.” New York Times, February 1, 1976.

Climbing Up the Ass II: The Climbening

Yannick MetIncoming Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin lavishes praise on former Met Music Director James Levine for actually doing his job, for once. [MET Orchestra Musicians]

Period piece

italianaWhile Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s production of L’Italiana in Algeri for the Met remains steadfastly ignorant of postcolonial theory, it at least provides one with a distinct pleasure: the opportunity to hear some delightful music.  Read more »

Je ne suis pas précis ici

If you’ve been following the coverage of the Nézet-Séguin succession, you will note that a good deal of the coverage centers on whether the incoming maestro will “champion” this composer or that.

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Just a song at twilight

“Mr. Levine was conducting his beloved Wagner for what was almost certainly the last time.”

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Trauermarsch

I can scarcely remember a performance where so many conflicting thoughts raced through my mind as happened Thursday night during the Met Orchestra’s “bleeding chunks” of Wagner’s Ring at Carnegie Hall.

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Cold Turkey

The no-star, slapstick revival of John Dexter’s 37-year-old production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail that opened Friday night proved James Levine’s tenure as Music Director of the Met will end in two weeks with neither a whimper nor a bang.

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“Das Ende! Das Ende!

“Maestro James Levine, the Met’s Music Director since 1976, announced that after 40 years in the position, he will retire at the end of the current season, for health reasons,” says the Met press office. 

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Not only with words, but with lively gestures

“I will never sing the role again. It was frightful. We were a set of madwomen…There is nothing beyond Elektra. We have lived and reached the furthest boundaries in dramatic writing for the voice with Wagner. But Richard Strauss goes beyond him. His singing voices are lost. We have come to a full stop.” 

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Doge days

That Placido Domingo and James Levine, the Met’s inexorable septuagenarians, would team up yet again—on April Fools’ Day, no less—for a revival of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra occasioned an uncomfortable degree of doubt and dread.

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