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James Levine Cancels Performances With Metropolitan Opera In New York

The Metropolitan Opera has announced that James Levine will not be conducting any performances with the organization this fall. The news came down on the same day Levine was scheduled to start rehearsals at the Met, and one week after a fall that damaged one of his vertebrae.

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According to a statement, the accident happened in Vermont while Levine was on vacation. It represents the latest in a string of health-related setbacks that have affected the maestro's career over the past few years.

Levine underwent two back surgeries in 2011, following previous procedures for herniated discs. Extreme pain, treatments and recuperation periods forced him to step down from his music director position at the Boston Symphony Orchestra earlier this year.

While Levine will retain his position as the Met’s music director, Fabio Luisi has been named principal conductor. Luisi will lead the orchestra for most of the fall performances, including "Don Giovanni" on Oct. 13 and "Siegfried" on Oct. 27. He's been acting as principal guest conductor since April.

Levine hopes to regain his strength and dexterity for a return to the podium in January 2012. He's still on the schedule to lead the Met's new production of Wagner's "Götterdämmerung," as well as "Der Ring des Nibelungen" in the spring.

This program aired on September 6, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrea Shea Twitter Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.

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