Levine back on podium after disk surgery

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2009 9:26 PM

Conductor James Levine has returned to the podium following a two-month absence caused by surgery for a herniated disk in his back.

The 67-year-old conducted the opening performance of a new production of Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)" at the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday night.

Levine is music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Met. He conducted the Met's opening-night performance of Puccini's "Tosca" in September and a pair of concerts with the BSO before deciding to have surgery.

It was his third layoff in recent years for medical reasons. He tore his rotator cuff in 2006 when he tripped and fell on the stage of Boston's Symphony Hall, and his right kidney was removed in 2008 because of a malignant tumor.