With Maestro James Levine returning to the podium after another long period of recuperation, the welcome back message is being pushed aside by concerns over his crazy schedule, which calls for him to conduct the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston on the same day! Can you imagine Cy Young heading the pitching staffs of both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees?
From the New York Times: “Despite evidence that working too hard in the past has contributed to his health problems, Mr. Levine, 67, is scheduled for a nightmarish week in October. He will lead the Boston orchestra in Mahler’s huge Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) at 8 p.m. on Oct. 7. On Oct. 8, he conducts a 1:30 p.m. repeat concert. Mr. Levine must then be in New York the next day for a 1 p.m. “Rheingold” and back in Boston that evening for another “Resurrection.””
BSO managing director Mark Volpe is quoted in the article as expressing “serious concern” about the Maestro Levine’s double-header, and BSO fans are said to see Levine “as favoring the Met, his longstanding home.”
We can’t see how Levine is at fault here; it reminds us of the Dick Feller song, Makin’ the Best of a Bad Situation, with the refrain:
I guess he’s makin’ the best of a bad situation
Don’t wanta make waves, can’t you see
He’s just makin’ the best of a bad situation
Reckon I’d do the same if it was me
Rather, we wonder if the BSO didn’t err way back in 2001 when Levine was hired to replace Seiji Ozawa – a hiring that required 2 seasons of replacement conductors before Levine would be available in the first place? If the Boston Brahmins cannot buy out Levine’s Met contract, maybe it would be a good idea for them to wade back into the free agent pool and hire a similarly gifted right-hander (or southpaw), and keep him (or her) too busy to moonlight in Gotham?