Sunday is no stranger of a day to things art and entertainment related. That last day of the week before work starts up again and before scheduling down to the minute seems to temporarily take over everyone’s lives. Special exhibitions, matinees and free afternoon concerts are typical events one might find on a Sunday.
Well, although I wasn’t perusing the papers for anything like that this morning or afternoon, I did remember that this Sunday in particular, has special meaning for one very valuable person.
Maestro James Lawrence Levine celebrates his 40th anniversary with The Metropolitan Opera today. Levine’s total credentials stretch far wider than only The Met, as he holds relations, history and esteem with The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Vienna Philharmonic, The Berliner Philharmoniker and the Switzerland founded Verbier Festival Orchestra, just to name a few.
However, today is all about his work with The Met.
Mr. Levine’s accolades and his fame as a conductor have only snowballed over time to increase others’ desire to work with or see him in performance. As neatly summed up yet elaborated upon HERE, Levine has certainly made his mark with The Met family, with these many “first premieres” listed as operas for which he stood at the orchestral helm:
“He conducted the first-ever Met performances of Mozart’s Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani, I Lombardi and Stiffelio, Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Schoenberg’s Erwartung and Moses und Aron, Berg’s Lulu, Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini, as well as the world premieres of John Corigliano’s [the composer behind The Red Violin,] The Ghosts of Versailles and John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby.“
Maestro Levine’s first conducting debut you ask? That is not actually listed above. On this date in 1971, Giacomo Puccini‘s Tosca premiered, and how fitting that on such an impressive anniversary, Tosca actually was given a brand new production for the 2010-2011 Met season.
In lighthearted homage to Maestro Levine, and for those of you who maybe still need to acquire more of a taste for opera, I present for you, the first part of an abbreviated Tosca “performance,”as portrayed by… Legos. (You can easily follow to the next parts directly through YouTube by clicking the video when it’s finished,)
Happy Anniversary Maestro! May you have many more spectacular performances!