December 31, 2012

Lesley Koenig Excited to See James Levine Return to the Met
-- Lesley Koenig is thrilled to hear that James Levine, the legendary music director, is returning to his work at the Metropolitan Opera. --

    PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 31, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The New York Times has announced that legendary Music Director James Levine will be returning to the Metropolitan Opera after two years away from the podium. Lesley Koenig, who has worked extensively with Levine, is happy to welcome her colleague back to the industry.

The article explains that Levine's return will take place on May 19, 2013, when he leads the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The following season, he is anticipated to lead three different productions at the opera house. Levine, who is now 69 years of age, has "been plagued by health problems since 2006, leading to a drip-drip of cancellations over recent years," according to the article. The publication adds that a fall in 2011 resulted in severe spinal damage and caused him to cancel his work while he mended.

Despite all of the challenges that he has faced, Levine is in good spirits and is elated to be returning. "I'm overwhelmingly happy to be coming back," he comments. "It's miraculous for me."

Although Met General Manager Peter Gelb appointed Fabio Luisi Principal Conductor during Levine's illness, Levine remained Music Director of the Met. When Levine does resume his role, Luisi will remain Principal Conductor, and although the details are not yet clear, the article reports that the two will share responsibilities.

"What uplifting news that Jimmy is returning to the Met's podium," comments Lesley Koenig. "No one conducts Mozart better than he. It is as if his heart beats perfectly in synch with the music and activity onstage. I am thrilled he has chosen to return to the Opera House with my production of Cosė fan tutte, an unforgettable collaborative experience between us when the production premiered in 1996."

Koenig is extremely proud to count Levine among her closest colleagues and admires his perseverance in the face of medical challenges. She wishes him and everyone else involved in his productions the best of luck and looks forward to the achievements they will celebrate during the season.


Lesley Koenig is an arts professional with over 35 years of experience in opera stage direction and senior executive performing arts management. A stage director of opera for almost twenty years in top houses and festivals worldwide, Lesley Koenig was engaged as a stage director at the Metropolitan Opera when just 23. During a sabbatical from her directing career, Lesley Koenig earned two Masters Degrees at Stanford University in 2001, and subsequently served as General Manager of San Francisco Ballet, Assistant Manager and Director of Production at the Metropolitan Opera, and Fellow at Stanford University in the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. Known for her insight into the performing arts world, Lesley Koenig lectures at Stanford Business School on strategic management, Harvard University for the Office of the Arts, and the University of California, Berkeley, on best practices around labor negotiations. Lesley Koenig will be directing Samson et Dalila at San Diego Opera in February 2013.


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