View Poll Results: What is your opinion on James Levine?

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  • James Levine has been a great general director at the Met

    7 46.67%
  • James Levine is overrated as general director at the Met

    2 13.33%
  • James Levine is a wonderful maestro

    10 66.67%
  • I have reservations about James Levine as a maestro.

    3 20.00%
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Thread: What do you think about James Levine?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Default What do you think about James Levine?

    On specials on TV one hears singers raving about James Levine, something you didn't hear about Bing. Do you think he deserving of the praise he has received both as a general director and as a maestro?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I think he was competent and at times could be great.
    And has been a good director.
    Last edited by Itullian; Sep-30-2013 at 17:17.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I have reservations about Levine the man
    Ann

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Revenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    I have reservations about Levine the man
    I think he should conduct some Lully. Elective affinities.
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

  7. #5
    Senior Member Pip's Avatar
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    Excellent Verdi conductor - a bit overrated with Wagner, but good and in the overall as the MD of the MET, excellent.
    As a symphony conductor, he is less impressive, good but not outstanding.

  8. #6
    Senior Member Cavaradossi's Avatar
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    I'm confused by the question. The Metropolitan Opera has a General Manager, currently Peter Gelb, and a Music Director, James Levine, but no position called General Director. Levine also held the title 'Artistic Director' from 1986 to 2004, but that's still different from General Manager, the position held by Rudolph Bing. I'm not sure it's fair to compare the two. The General Manager holds the pursestrings and has to balance the books and negotiate contracts, and probably needs to play the 'bad cop' now and then.

    I've always been impressed by Levine as a conductor. Perhaps his Wagner reputation has benefitted from comparison to Fabio Luisi . I've never seen Levine conduct live, but will remedy that next month with the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Will be a good chance to hear both some opera works and symphonic works.

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  10. #7
    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
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    I don't have an opinion about Levine as General Director of the Met. As a maestro, he has always struck me as someone who doesn't want music to sound superficial or "small scale" -- hence his big, bold, extroverted approach. Sometimes this is good -- I especially like his approach to OTELLO -- but at other times the listener could wish for more subtlety. For instance, I like Levine's Mozart, yet at the same time I like the more restrained approaches of other conductors. I suppose it depends on what you're in the mood for.
    Last edited by Bellinilover; Sep-30-2013 at 19:09.

  11. #8
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    Whatever you may think of his interpretation of this or that opera or orchestral work, James Levine
    is a very great musician and conductor , and his accomplishments with the Metropolitan opera have
    been colossal . For over 40 years ,he has singlehandedly devoted himself to the company , working
    with incredible patience,diligence and determination to aim for the highest artistic achevements , and he is
    responsible for the extraordinarily high standards of performnce there . Not everything has been perfect there,
    but there have been so many truly great performnces there since he took the Met over .
    Levine has built the Met orchestra into one of the finest in the world ,whether concert or operatic ,
    and initiated a series of orchestral concerts with it in Carnegie hall and on tour .
    He has worked so hard to foster the developement of gifted young singers and has worked closely
    with them and coached them .
    The Met's repertoire under Levine has grown, expanded and diversified enormously , with the first Met
    performnces of such great operas as (not all conducted by him ) Lulu, Benvenuto Cellini, I Vespri Siciliani, Idomeneo,
    La Clemenza di Tito , Katya Kabanova ,Rusalka , The Makropoulos Case, From the House of the Dead ,
    Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk , The Nose, Doktor Faust , Rose & Fall of the City of Mahagonny ,
    Les Dialogues du Carmelites, Capriccio , Mazeppa, Atilla, I Lombardi , War and Peace, the Gambler ,
    Moses &Aron , Giulio Cesare, Rodelinda , Billy Budd , Nixon in China Satyagraha , Doctor Atomic etc.
    Also, the world premieres of The Ghosts of Versailles , The Great Gatsby , etc.
    Under levine , the Met began to make complete recordings of operas after many years without doing this,
    including the first complete Ring cycle to be recorded in America , Parsifal , Flying Dutchman,
    Rigoletto, La Traviata , Il Trovatore , Manon Lescaut , Aida , Don Carlo, etc
    And much more . Not too shabby ! No wonder he was greeted with a prolonged and thundering ovation
    when he returned to the Met orchestra pit last week !

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  13. #9
    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks superhorn

    Quote Originally Posted by superhorn View Post
    Whatever you may think of his interpretation of this or that opera or orchestral work, James Levine
    is a very great musician and conductor , and his accomplishments with the Metropolitan opera have
    been colossal . For over 40 years ,he has singlehandedly devoted himself to the company , working
    with incredible patience,diligence and determination to aim for the highest artistic achevements , and he is
    responsible for the extraordinarily high standards of performnce there . Not everything has been perfect there,
    but there have been so many truly great performnces there since he took the Met over .
    Levine has built the Met orchestra into one of the finest in the world ,whether concert or operatic ,
    and initiated a series of orchestral concerts with it in Carnegie hall and on tour .
    He has worked so hard to foster the developement of gifted young singers and has worked closely
    with them and coached them .
    The Met's repertoire under Levine has grown, expanded and diversified enormously , with the first Met
    performnces of such great operas as (not all conducted by him ) Lulu, Benvenuto Cellini, I Vespri Siciliani, Idomeneo,
    La Clemenza di Tito , Katya Kabanova ,Rusalka , The Makropoulos Case, From the House of the Dead ,
    Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk , The Nose, Doktor Faust , Rose & Fall of the City of Mahagonny ,
    Les Dialogues du Carmelites, Capriccio , Mazeppa, Atilla, I Lombardi , War and Peace, the Gambler ,
    Moses &Aron , Giulio Cesare, Rodelinda , Billy Budd , Nixon in China Satyagraha , Doctor Atomic etc.
    Also, the world premieres of The Ghosts of Versailles , The Great Gatsby , etc.
    Under levine , the Met began to make complete recordings of operas after many years without doing this,
    including the first complete Ring cycle to be recorded in America , Parsifal , Flying Dutchman,
    Rigoletto, La Traviata , Il Trovatore , Manon Lescaut , Aida , Don Carlo, etc
    And much more . Not too shabby ! No wonder he was greeted with a prolonged and thundering ovation
    when he returned to the Met orchestra pit last week !
    Thanks superhorn. This was the response I was working on. You did a much better job.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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  15. #10
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Cavaradossi;535309]I'm confused by the question. The Metropolitan Opera has a General Manager, currently Peter Gelb, and a Music Director, James Levine, but no position called General Director. Levine also held the title 'Artistic Director' from 1986 to 2004, but that's still different from General Manager, the position held by Rudolph Bing. I'm not sure it's fair to compare the two. The General Manager holds the pursestrings and has to balance the books and negotiate contracts, and probably needs to play the 'bad cop' now and then.


    Sorry for the misnomer. I was applying what we have here in Seattle to him. Forgive my ignorance on this.
    Last edited by Seattleoperafan; Oct-01-2013 at 06:31.

  16. #11
    Senior Member Cavaradossi's Avatar
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    I got curious and found this article about the Seattle Opera, a company that I always respected by reputation. Yes, it sounds like retiring GD Speight Jenkins was more in the Rudolph Bing mold. Mamascarlatti can probably give you some insight on the new GD coming from Opera New Zealand.

    http://crosscut.com/2013/06/24/arts/...a/?page=single

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