James Levine, the American conductor and pianist, has passed away from the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. He was 77.
Levine served as music director of the Metropolitan Opera for 40 years from 1976 to 2016. He is widely credited with raising the artistic level and profile of that company. He was also music director of the Ravinia Festival (1973–1993) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (2004–2011).
Levine’s personal and professional reputation will be forever clouded by the sexual abuse scandal that led to his termination from the Met in March, 2018. Yet, the achievement of the musicians of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the singers onstage over the past fifty years should be honored. The power of the music remains.
Here is the final scene of Wagner’s Das Rheingold from the Metropolitan Opera’s 1989 production: