The best recordings of conductor James Levine

We name the best albums featuring recordings of the American conductor James Levine

James Levine best recordings
Published: March 1, 2021 at 4:45 pm

R Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos

Deborah Voigt, Natalie Dessay, Susanne Mentzer, Richard Margison, Nathan Gunn, John Nuzzo, Eric Cutler, John Del Carlo, Joyce Guyer, Jossie Pérez, Alexandra Deshorties, Wolfgang Brendel, Waldemar Kmentt, James Courtney, Mark Schowalter; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra/James Levine; dir. Elijah Moshinsky (New York, 2003)
Virgin 5099964186795


'Conductor James Levine’s previous two casts, on Deutsche Grammophon CD and DVD, were going to be hard to equal, but by and large these singers of 2003 are no less worthy of his lustrous support.'

Read full review of James Levine's recording of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos

Verdi: Il trovatore

Vladimir Chernov, Aprile Millo, Dolora Zajick, Plácido Domingo, James Morris; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus/James Levine
Sony S2K 48070 DDD

'What a superb work this is: the quintessential Italian opera, with its absurd melodramatic plot and its wealth of glorious melody. It receives a fine, full-bloodedly Italianate performance from James Levine and his Metropolitan Opera forces, despite the fact that the international cast contains no Italians.'

Read full review of James Levine's recording of Verdi's Il trovatore

Sibelius: Symphony No. 1; Violin Concerto

Shlomo Mintz (violin); Helsinki RSO/Okko Kamu, Berlin PO/ James Levine
DG 449 849-2 ADD/DDD (1973/87)

'Despite the odd rough edge, Okko Kamu’s version of Sibelius’s First Symphony is enormously likeable. The astringency of the string sound and the conductor’s refusal to inflate the emotion results in a performance of great subtlety and integrity.'

Read full review of James Levine's recording of Sibelius's Symphony No. 1 and Violin Concerto

Unavailable on Amazon but you can buy this on Ebay

Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos 1-5

Itzhak Perlman (violin), Vienna Philharmonic/James Levine
DG 445 535-2 DDD (1983/86)

'Perlman's collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic under Levine would be difficult to surpass.'

Read full review of James Levine's recording of Mozart's Violin Concertos Nos 1-5

Wagner: Orchestral Music

The Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera/James Levine
DG 447 764-2

'The best compliment one can pay these discs is that the voices are not really missed with the music in the hands of such experienced Wagnerian conductors as these two.'


Read full review of James Levine's recording of Wagner's orchestral music


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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