One day after cancelling the remainder of his appearances this season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, music director James Levine stepped down from his post, citing his ongoing health problems as preventing him from fulfilling his duties. He's missed many performances in Boston and with the Metropolitan Opera in New York over the past few years. He had rotator cuff surgery and other surgeries during that time. His continued absences made things difficult for both organizations.
It's too bad that Levine's tenure in Boston has to end this way. And I'm a little surprised that it happened so quickly. But like a professional athlete, he knew that it was time to go. The workload of managing a top-flight symphony orchestra is heavy enough, and adding his responsibilities at the Met (a post that he will maintain) was clearly too much for someone with his health problems. With only one job, Levine will be able to focus on the Met's needs and appear as a guest conductor with orchestras if he wants. I've enjoyed watching him at the Met and I hope he's able to continue in that position for as long as he wants.