James Levine withdraws from The Met autumn season

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Back injury forces conductor to withdraw from performances for the rest of the year

The Metropolitan Opera’s music director, James Levine, has withdrawn from all performances at The Met for the rest of this year. The decision comes after Levine, 68, fell and injured a vertebra whilst on holiday in the state of Vermont.

He was due to conduct new productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Wagner’s, Siegfried from the Ring cycle. Following his withdrawal, Fabio Luisi – formerly principal guest conductor at The Met – will take on many of his engagements, together with previously scheduled appearances from Louis Langreé and Derrick Inouye.

Levine has suffered from a number of health problems over recent years. He has undergone surgery to remove a kidney containing a tumour and has had shoulder and back operations. In early 2011, after complications following a back operation, Levine decided to step down as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

There has been speculation in the press over whether Levine will now permanently leave his post at The Met. But in a statement, on its website The Met said: ‘Levine hopes to recover in time to return to The Met in January for the new production of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung

Gareth Thomas