NEW YORK (AP) — Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine is withdrawing from the company's new production of Berg's "Lulu" to concentrate on a revival of Wagner's "Tannhaeuser."
The 72-year-old, who had been the chief musical force at the company since 1973, missed the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons because of a back injury, returned with a limited schedule of 27 performances in 2013-14 and conducted 38 of 39 scheduled performances last year. He leads the orchestra from a motorized wheelchair.
Met General Manager Peter Gelb said in a statement Friday that "conducting evening performances of 'Tannhaeuser' while rehearsing Lulu in the daytime would be an ambitious undertaking for any maestro."
Lothar Koenigs will conduct the first five performances of the William Kentridge staging of "Lulu," which opens Nov. 5. "Tannhaeuser" opens Oct. 8.