40 years after his appointment James Levine has performed his final concert as music director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera. It was an emotional farewell, which culminated in a prolonged standing ovation for the 72-year-old conductor.
Levine led the Met in a matinee rendition of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which was broadcast live on radio. The performance was punctuated by prolonged periods of applause between each act.
Although it was the final Met concert of the season, Levine will conduct the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall later this month. He is also scheduled to appear next season as conductor emeritus.
His 40 years as music director have been hugely successful for the Met, firmly establishing it as one of the world’s foremost opera companies. As well as acclaimed recordings, the Met has also led the way in digital broadcasting and screenings of its performances.
Levine did not receive the standing ovation from the stage, as he is currently using a motorised wheelchair and could not make it to the stage in time. His recent health problems – including sciatica and other back complaints – were a crucial factor in the timing of his retirement.