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Barenboim brings James Levine back to Europe

October 23, 2017 by norman lebrecht

19 comments.


The Berlin Staatsoper director has secured the return to Europe, after a long absence, of the former Metropolitan Opera music director, James Levine.

Levine will conduct Mahler’s 3rd symphony with Barenboim’s Staatskapelle next week, on October 31, at the Berlin Philharmonie.


Comments (19)

  1. Ungeheuer says:

    The question is: why?

    1. Robert Roy says:

      I thought he’d retired through ill health. At least it’s a nice straightforward programme…

      1. harold braun says:

        Retired from the MET, yes,but luckily not from conducting.Following his triumphant return to the Chicago Symphony with Mahler2 in Ravinia last year,he did a subscription concert(Mozart,Schoenberg and Berlioz)with them last fall and Haydn’s Creation,this summer, again at Ravinia.

        1. Marjorie Krause says:

          Levine is not retired from the Met.
          Unless you call Zauberflöte, Verdi Requiem, Tosca, Luisa Miller, Trovatore,
          nealy 40 p-erformances this season at the Met retired!

  2. Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

    Interesting. Looks like he is obsessed with this piece.

    From his bio found somewhere online:
    “In March 2010, in Berlin, he conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in his debut with the
    Staatskapelle Berlin …”

    Did he really conduct that concert? I was actually in the Konzerthaus Berlin hearing the aforementioned Mahler 3. But it was Barenboim who was conducting. Levine pulled out due to illness, as far as I could remember.

    1. Sixtus says:

      Levine’s CSO recording of Mahler 3 has been among my favorites ever since its release on LP. That album also featured a cover by Maurice Sendak — the best cover art the symphony has yet received.

    2. Dave Allen says:

      That name of yours is way too long, why not shorten it to just “Anal”?

      1. Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

        Why bother? People with Analysierungsvermögen like yours will do the simplification by yourselves. And we all know what you can comprehend when you see crimson fountaingrass (pennisetum setaceum).

        Your life is also way too long. You should have cut it down to the first 4 years.

  3. Oliver Klozoff says:

    Reminds me of Klemperer “conducting” zombie-like in the Royal Festival Hall at the end of the 1960s in a chair, setting up a record for the length of Beethoven’s 4th. I fell asleep.

    1. Pianofortissimo says:

      It seems that you spoiled one of the last chances to hear a performance by an iconic conductor. That concert, and Levine’s coming Berlin concert, are to be listened to with empathy.

  4. harold braun says:

    Ungeheuer:Why?Because of giving self important people an opportunity for stupid questions.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      It’s the freedom of expression, stupid.

      1. AMetFan says:

        This is true, but most of us weigh our thoughts before we put them out in public. Otherwise, we sound like…well, like Ungeheuer.

      2. harold braun says:

        Okay,sorry i forgot this includes also verbal rubbish.Sorry,all my fault.But again,you fulfill all expectations brillantly,true to your form

        1. Wiener says:

          Why ? Weil er einer der besten lebenden Dirigenten ist . Deshalb !
          Querulanten gibt es immer.

  5. herrera says:

    I pray to God all those critical of Levine just because of his illness that IF you are lucky enough to reach his age, that you be in perfect health and that your grandchildren don’t treat you like a dotard and your children rushing you into a nursing home.

    James Levine remains, but for some physical limitations, in every sense a distinguished conductor. Those who think rehearsing and conducting can only be accomplished by beating a stick in silence (as though humans didn’t have language to convey ideas) then you’re sorely deprived.

  6. AMetFan says:

    Bravo. Well stated. 95% of what a conductor does is accomplished in rehearsal. There is more to what an audience ultimately experiences in performance on stage. We are fortunate to still enjoy Maestro Levine’s artistry, as we have countless other conductors who were counted out before their time.

  7. Ilio says:

    He was invited to conduct Mahler 6 in Berlin by Barenboim back in 2011, but cancelled. Barenboim substituted with a dull as dishwater Mahler 9th.

  8. Daniel F. says:

    So…..did Levine actually perform the Mahler 3rd in Berlin on 10/31/17?? Why no follow-up, reviews on this blog?

    For the record, he performed it twice while MD of the Boston Symphony, but on both occasions the finale was much too slow for the orchestra to sustain convincingly and the Schlueter-led brass section was something of a train-wreck.


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