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James Levine to undergo surgery, cancels Met, Boston Symphony gigs

James Levine to undergo surgery, cancels Met, Boston Symphony gigs

James Levine, music director of the Metropolitan Opera and Boston Symphony, has canceled appearances with both institutions to undergo back surgery. (Just my luck. I'm heading to New York this week to catch up on all the fuss about the Metropolitan Opera's roundly booed new "Tosca" production, figuring I would at the very least enjoy Levine's conducting.)

Here are the hot-off-the-email press releases:

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FROM THE MET: Metropolitan Opera Music Director James Levine will have back surgery this week to repair a herniated disc. He has withdrawn from conducting performances this fall in order to recuperate. Joseph Colaneri, who was already scheduled to conduct "Tosca" on October 3, 14, and 17, will take over Levine's performances of the Puccini opera on October 6 and 10 matinee. (He already filled in for Levine conducting Tosca on September 24 and 28.)

The conductor for "Der Rosenkavalier" performances on October 13, 16, and 19 will be

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announced soon.

Levine's doctors expect him to recover in time to conduct the new production of "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" which opens December 3. In addition to six performances of the Offenbach work, he will return to the Met podium later in the season for "Simon Boccanegra" and "Lulu," as well as "Der Rosenkavalier" in January and "Tosca" in April. He is also scheduled to lead the Met Orchestra in Carnegie Hall performances in December and January.

FROM THE BOSTON SYMPHONY: BSO Music Director James Levine has had to withdraw from his upcoming conducting appearances tonight, September 29, and Saturday, October 3, at Symphony Hall in Boston, and Thursday, October 1, at Carnegie Hall in New York, due to immediate unanticipated back surgery for a herniated disc.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor Shi-Yeon Sung will conduct tonight's performance of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms and Mozart's Requiem with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Boston Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductors Julian Kuerti and Shi-Yeon Sung will split the program on Saturday, October 3, which honors Ann Hobson Pilot's 40-year tenure as harpist with the BSO. Mr. Kuerti will conduct the first half of the program, Beethoven's Symphony No. 4. Ms. Sung will conduct Elliott Carter's "Mosaic," for harp and chamber ensemble, Debussy's "Danses sacrée et profane" for harp and orchestra, John Williams's "On Willows and Birches," for harp and orchestra, and Ravel's "La Valse," with Ann Hobson Pilot returning to the BSO principal harp chair for this special occasion.

"All of us at the BSO are disappointed that Maestro Levine will not be able to conduct the Tuesday and Saturday subscription concerts in Boston and Opening Night at Carnegie Hall," said Mark Volpe, BSO Managing Director. "Our thoughts are with Jim and we wish him a speedy recovery so he can soon return to the BSO podium and the glorious music-making for which he is so universally known. We are fortunate at the BSO to have two very talented assistant conductors, Shi-Yeon Sung and Julian Kuerti, who are scheduled to fill in for the two programs to take place in Boston this week. Despite Jim's absence, we remain very excited to open Carnegie Hall's 2009-10 season."

AP PHOTO

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