prediction_2011La Cieca (pictured) is going to go out on a limb here, cher public, based on bits and pieces of gossip, a hard fact or two, and her own occasionally flawed powers of ratiocination.

Her prediction: James Levine will retire as Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 season.

Further details of this prophetical vision follow the jump.

La Cieca further predicts that upon stepping down as Music Director, Levine will accept the title of Music Director Emeritus, which position will entail the conducting of one production per year at the Met plus concerts given with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and MET Chamber Ensemble. In 2012-13 his opera assignment at the Met will be Les Troyens and in 2013-14 Eugene Onegin.

The news of Levine’s transition should break at the season announcement press conference on February 16; or, if not quite that soon, at a special press conference called later this season. La Cieca predicts that no announcement will be made immediately of Levine’s successor as Music Director at the Met, but that the press conference will note that Levine’s farewell to the post will be marked with his final Met performances of Wagner’s Ring in the spring of 2012 and, naturally, a gala benefit of some sort, perhaps a couple of days following the last Götterdämmerung in May 2012.

The identity of Levine’s successor as Music Director (Fabio Luisi? Yannick Nézet-Séguin? Semyon Bychkov?) La Cieca will leave as a matter for debate among the cher public.

Again, La Cieca emphasizes that this is not an announcement, but rather a prediction. She will be as amused and as interested as you to see how all this plays out.