Oh, the irony.
James Levine, whose various injuries and ailments frequently kept him off the podium when he was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has been picked to replace Andris Nelsons as conductor of the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Puccini’s “Tosca,” opening Dec. 31.
The Met announced Monday that Nelsons, who succeeded Levine as music director of the BSO, “has withdrawn” from “Tosca.” The maestro’s departure follows the exit of celebrated soprano Kristine Opolais — she just happens to be Nelson’s wife — who announced a few weeks ago that she was pulling out of the “Tosca” production “for personal reasons.”
The 74-year-old Levine, who is music director emeritus at the Met, has conducted “Tosca” at the Met many times dating back to 1971.
Through a BSO spokesperson, Nelsons declined to comment. It’s not clear why he and Opolais have pulled out of the production, but both seemed to be in exceptional form at the BSO’s opening weekend at Tanglewood.