James Levine, who has been music director and art director and principal conductor at the Met over the course of 40 years, returned to the podium for the first time in two years after illnesses and injuries so debilitating that it was thought he would never conduct again. Or perhaps even walk away.
Levine has been hit with a form of Parkinson's Disease, and then a couple years ago fell, injured his vertebrae and lost all feeling in his legs. However, he's been rehabbing and is able to do a small amount of walking, with the hope of a full recovery, at least to walk again. A special wheelchair was designed for him (it can push him into a near-standing position) and a special podium was constructed that can turn 180-degrees and face the audience, which allowed him to make a triumphant return to Carnegie Hall earlier. But it was the Met -- his home for nearly half a century, where he's conducted 2,442 performances (over double the next closest) -- that was most anticipated.
If the performance had simply been a solid success, that would have been enough to gratify the opera fans who cherish his work and to reassure his concerned colleagues at the Met. But it was much more. Over many years I have heard Mr. Levine give some remarkable accounts of Mozart operas and I don’t think I have ever heard a more vibrant, masterly and natural performance than this “Così Fan Tutte,”
I believe that this concert will be broadcast on the Live from the Met radio series, though not until April 26. Their website here will list what stations in your area carry it. In Los Angeles, that's KUSC, 91.5 FM.
For those who'd like to read a more detailed write-up on the event, the celebration is nicely described by the Associated Press.