In Monday’s (5/20) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Against all odds, James Levine is back. On Sunday afternoon Mr. Levine, one of the greatest living American conductors and a musician who has defined the Metropolitan Opera for more than 40 years, cruised onto the stage of Carnegie Hall in a motorized wheelchair and conducted the Met Orchestra in a substantial program, his first performance anywhere in more than two years. The audience, which packed the house, stood almost in sync to give him a hearty welcoming ovation. … Levine was able to turn his chair around and get to work in just over a minute. Then he led a serene, poised and glowing account of the Prelude to Act I of Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin.’ So he really is back. This was Mr. Levine at his best. There are still big questions hovering over the Met about whether he can fulfill the duties of music director, which remains his title. But this was a day to celebrate his return and bask in his musical glory. … Wagner has long been a Levine specialty, and there could not have been a more revealing work to open this momentous performance than the Prelude to ‘Lohengrin.’ ” Also on the program were Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G with Evgeny Kissin, and Schubert’s Ninth Symphony.

Posted May 20, 2013