Levine has a 40 year history at the Met, but multiple health problems led him to take leave two years ago. Though there was much speculation as to whether Levine would return to the stage. He did so Tuesday night using a podium designed specially for him.
Due to years of battling Parkinson's disease and numerous back problems, Levine is restricted to conducting in a wheelchair. The Met designed a mechanical podium capable of lifting his wheelchair three feet high and rotating 180 degrees.
Levine was welcomed back by a full house and standing ovation. He started the beginning of his season by conducting the overture from his favorite Mozart opera, Cosi fan tutte. Throughout this season, Levine will be conducting the new production of Falstaff and the revival of Cosi fan tutte and Wozzeck.
Including the 24 scheduled performances for this season, Levine's record is quite phenomenal. Over the past 40 years, he has conducted more than 2,440 performances, attained the titles of music and artistic director and received many awards.
After his long absence, Levine received a warm welcome and shined throughout his return performance.