Following an absence of more than two years to recover from injuries and illnesses, James Levine made his big return to the podium Sunday to conduct the Metropolitan Opera orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
But the 69-year-old Levine didn't entirely return to form, having to lead the concert from the confines of a wheelchair.
Though questions remain about Levine's long-term ability to conduct, "this was a day to celebrate his return and bask in his musical glory," wrote New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini.
When Levine entered Stern Auditorium on Sunday afternoon, he received a minute-long standing ovation from the audience, according to reports. A mechanized lift raised him and the chair to the podium so that he could lead the orchestra.
Sunday's sold-out matinee concert featured Levine conducting the prelude to Act I of Wagner's "Lohengrin," Schubert's Symphony No. 9 and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, with soloist Evgeny Kissin. The concert was streamed live on the Metropolitan Opera's website.