Sep 25, 2013

By Michael Kramer

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It was  a momentous event in the history of the Metropolitan Opera.

Conductor James Levine returned last night  to the house he has called home for more than 40 years.

The 70 year old Maestro  had been away  for two full seasons because of injury and illness, and many had doubted he would ever reappear.

And Levine and the production of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutti he conducted from a wheelchair are getting rave reviews.

Levine’s motorized wheelchair  is hoisted up on a mechanical podium about three feet while the device  can rotate 180 degrees, allowing him to turn to face the audience.

 It’s the same podium he used in his return to conducting at Carnegie Hall last May.

Levine has been plagued by health issues for years, including a form of Parkinson’s disease and numerous back problems.  Then in August 2011 he damaged a vertebra in a fall, leaving him with no feeling in his legs. In recent months he has started to walk again and he has said doctors hold out hope for a complete recovery at some point.

Cosi Fan Tutti will be performed at The Met until October 5th.

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