Tim Page on the magnetism of James Levinemain
The Washington Post has the first full obituary of the former Met music director.
Tim Page writes:
With his bushy mess of graying hair and sweeping gestures, he was an immediately recognizable figure to anyone who had ever flipped on public television to see him conducting classical warhorses, as well as more avant-garde works. He exuded control and excitement about the music he led — no matter how many times he had watched Violetta waste away in “La Traviata” or the title heroine jump to her death in “Tosca.”
In a field that relies heavily on donors and stalwart subscribers, Mr. Levine drew hundreds of people to the Met for performance after performance, year after year, even as the longest-lasting singers had to retire their voices.
He guided revered performers such as Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Jessye Norman, Cecilia Bartoli and Kiri Te Kanawa and earned a reputation as one of the most supportive conductors and accompanists in the field. “I could go where they pay four or five times what I get at the Met,” Domingo once said. “But the other places do not offer the opportunity to work with Jim.”
Read on here.