Here’s the version given to house mouthpiece Opera News:
The Metropolitan Opera announced today that James Levine, the company’s music director since 1976, will retire at the end of the company’s current season for health reasons.
Capping an historic, forty-year tenure, Levine will assume the new position of Music Director Emeritus next season, the company announced, where he will continue as the artistic leader of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, and will continue to conduct some Met performances.
The company intends to appoint a new music director at the Met in the coming months. The Met also announced that John Fisher, currently the company’s director of music administration, has immediately been promoted to the role of Assistant General Manager, Music Administration. Fisher’s duties include overseeing the company’s staff conductors, rehearsal pianists and prompters; coaching principal singers; and working with Maestro Levine and the conductors for each Met performance to prepare and maintain the company’s musical quality.
Levine has withdrawn from conducting the Met’s new production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier next season, but the company reported that he intends to lead revivals of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, Verdi’s Nabucco and Mozart’sIdomeneo. This season, he will conduct the company’s remaining performances of Simon Boccanegra as well as five performances of the company’s revival of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail in April; he will also lead the Met Orchestra in May 19 and 26 concerts at Carnegie Hall, though he will not lead the orchestra in a concert scheduled for May 22 at Carnegie.