“…I really recommend the following. Before you’re going to hear a piece, any piece, for the first time, don’t do anything. Just go an hour early and read the program notes. Then you have some idea about how long it is, the instrumentation, what the idea of it is, the pure general shell. Then, when the piece is played, don’t fight with it. Listen to it. And if you find anything that fascinates you, then here’s the important thing Go hear it again, soon….”
James Levine is stepping down from his amazing job at the Met. I don’t know what we’re going to do without him. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to see, live, some of the greatest conductors of my life-time: Solti, Mehta, Barenboim, Rudel, Williams, Shaw, Thomas, Masur, Bernstein, Maazel, and so forth and so on, but I think Jimmy Levine is the greatest of them all. No one conducts Wagner like Jimmy. He is already sorely missed. When you listen to the Met before he took over in 1976, you can tell a difference. You can tell a difference, already. It isn’t the same. It never will be – again.