The Met Celebrates Music Director James Levine’s 70th Birthday With Weekend-Long Special Programming on Sirius XM

June 19, 2013

The Metropolitan Opera will celebrate its longtime Music Director James Levine’s 70th birthday with two full days of special programming on Met Opera Radio (Sirius XM Channel 74). The weekend-long marathon will feature 14 classic Levine performances, hand-picked by the maestro himself, beginning on Saturday, June 22 and continuing through midnight on Levine’s birthday, Sunday, June 23. The first broadcast, at 6 a.m. Saturday, will be a 1991 performance of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera starring Luciano Pavarotti; the celebration will conclude at 12 a.m. on Monday, June 24 with a 1994 performance of Verdi’s rarely heard Stiffelio, starring Plácido Domingo in the title role. Complete details, including complete casting and original broadcast dates for all 14 performances, are below.

Levine made his Met debut in 1971 and has conducted 2,442 performances with the company, more than any other conductor in the Met’s 130-year history. Last month, he returned from a two-year absence to conduct the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in a program of Wagner, Beethoven, and Schubert. In its review of the concert, The New York Times praised him as “one of the greatest living American conductors and a musician who has defined the Metropolitan Opera for more than 40 years” and the event as “a watershed moment in New York’s musical life this year.” Next season, Levine will lead three operas at the Met: a new production of Verdi’s Falstaff and revivals of Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Berg’s Wozzeck.

More than 100 Levine performances, including the 21-DVD and 32-CD box sets James Levine: Celebrating 40 Years at the Met, are available from the Met Opera Shop, which is located in the opera house’s north lobby as well as online at www.metoperashop.org. A retrospective book by Levine about his first four decades with the company, James Levine: 40 Years at the Metropolitan Opera, is also available in the shop and online. Met Opera on Demand, the Met’s online streaming service and iPad app, currently features 65 video and 80 audio performances led by Levine, ranging from a 1972 performance of Verdi’s Otello starring Jon Vickers in the title role to Levine’s most recent opera performance, the May 4, 2011 Live in HD video transmission of Wagner’s Die Walküre.

Complete details of the special Sirius XM programming follow; for more information on Maestro Levine, please visit the Met’s Web site at www.metopera.org.

Programming Schedule:
Maestro James Levine’s 70th Birthday Celebration
(Met Opera Radio, Sirius XM Channel 74)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

6 a.m. ET
Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi) from January 26, 1991. Levine conducts Aprile Millo (Amelia), Luciano Pavarotti (Riccardo), Leo Nucci (Renato), Florence Quivar (Ulrica), Harolyn Blackwell (Oscar).

9 a.m. ET
Salome (Richard Strauss) from January 5, 1974. Levine conducts Grace Bumbry (Salome), Ragnar Ulfung (Herod), Regina Resnik (Herodias), Lawrence Shadur (Jochanaan), William Lewis (Narraboth).

12 p.m. ET
The Ghosts of Versailles (Corigliano) from January 4, 1992. Levine conducts Teresa Stratas (Marie Antoinette), Håkan Hagegård (Beaumarchais), Gino Quilico (Figaro), Marilyn Horne (Samira), Graham Clark (Bégearss), Renée Fleming (Rosina).

3 p.m. ET
Fidelio (Beethoven) from January 6, 2001. Levine conducts Karita Mattila (Leonore), Ben Heppner (Florestan), Sergei Leiferkus (Don Pizarro), René Pape (Rocco), Hei-Kyung Hong (Marzelline), Matthew Polenzani (Jaquino).

6 p.m. ET
Falstaff (Verdi) from April 5, 1975. Levine conducts Cornell MacNeil (Sir John Falstaff), Evelyn Lear (Alice Ford), Thomas Stewart (Ford), Fedora Barbieri (Dame Quickly), Benita Valente (Nannetta), Douglas Ahlstedt (Fenton).

9 p.m. ET
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart) from February 9, 1991. Levine conducts Kathleen Battle (Pamina), Francisco Araiza (Tamino), Luciana Serra (Queen of the Night), Kurt Moll (Sarastro), Manfred Hemm (Papageno), Barbara Kilduff (Papagena).

12 a.m. ET
Pelléas et Mélisande (Debussy) from January 22, 1983. Levine conducts Dale Duesing (Pelléas), Jeannette Pilou (Mélisande), José Van Dam (Golaud), Jerome Hines (Arkel), Jocelyne Taillon (Geneviève).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

6 a.m. ET
La Forza del Destino (Verdi) from March 12, 1977. Levine conducts Leontyne Price (Leonora), Plácido Domingo (Don Alvaro), Cornell MacNeil (Don Carlo), Martti Talvela (Padre Guardiano), Rosalind Elias (Preziosilla), Renato Capecchi (Fra Melitone).

9 a.m. ET
Carmen (Bizet) from March 21, 1987. Levine conducts Agnes Baltsa (Carmen), José Carreras (Don José), Ileana Cortrubas (Micaëla), Samuel Ramey (Escamillo).

12 p.m. ET
Idomeneo (Mozart) from December 21, 1991. Levine conducts Ben Heppner (Idomeneo), Dawn Upshaw (Ilia), Susanne Mentzer (Idamante), Carol Vaness (Elettra), Peter Kazaras (Arbace).

3 p.m. ET
I Vespri Siciliani (Verdi) from March 9, 1974. Levine conducts Montserrat Caballé (Elena), Nicolai Gedda (Arrigo), Sherrill Milnes (Guido di Monforte), Justino Díaz (Giovanni da Procida).

6 p.m. ET
The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky) from January 17, 1998. Levine conducts Jerry Hadley (Tom Rakewell), Dawn Upshaw (Anne Trulove), Samuel Ramey (Nick Shadow), Stephanie Blythe (Baba the Turk).

9 p.m. ET
The Bartered Bride (Smetana) from December 2, 1978. Levine conducts Teresa Stratas (Marenka), Nicolai Gedda (Jeník), Jon Vickers (Vasek), Martti Talvela (Kecal).

12 a.m. ET
Stiffelio (Verdi) from March 5, 1994. Levine conducts Plácido Domingo (Stiffelio), Sharon Sweet (Lina), Vladimir Chernov (Stankar), Paul Plishka (Jorg), Peter Riberi (Raffaele).