It was the big event of the New York music season. In fact, it was the big event of many seasons. James Levine conducted a concert in Carnegie Hall — which is no big deal, except that he hadn’t conducted in two years, and many thought he would never conduct again. The concert was a relief, among other things.
Levine is one of the great conductors of our age. Since the mid 1970s, he has been music chief at the Metropolitan Opera. In the first half of the 2000s, roughly speaking, he was chief at the Munich Philharmonic. In the second half of that decade, again roughly speaking, he was chief at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For a long time, Levine was just about the hardest-working man in show business. But he was dogged by health problems.