NPR’s Fresh Air series devoted a segment to conductor James Levine; an accompanying article posted Wednesday (5/4) on the NPR website reports, “On June 5, 1971, James Levine lifted his baton and stepped up on the stage at The Metropolitan Opera. The occasion was a festival performance of Tosca. It was also the 27-year-old Levine’s debut performance at the Met. Since then, Levine has conducted works by Verdi, Mozart, Wagner, Rossini, Stravinsky, Debussy and countless others during his 40-year career with the Met. … Levine is the subject of a new PBS documentary, James Levine: America’s Maestro, as well as James Levine: 40 Years at the Metropolitan Opera, a coffeetable book documenting some of the 2,500 performances he has conducted at the Met. The Met has also released James Levine: Celebrating 40 Years at the Met, two box sets of DVDs and CDs capturing 22 of his nearly 2,500 live opera performances. … Levine tells Terry Gross that one of the most important things he does as a conductor is something he actively tries not to do—get in the way of the artistry of the musicians who are playing.” The entire Fresh Air interview is available at the link above.

Posted May 5, 2011