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20 May 2013, 12:05
The veteran conductor of the New York Met, James Levine, returned to the stage after a two-year health-related absence.
Conductor James Levine enjoyed a 7 1/2 minute standing ovation after his first concert performance in two years. Conducting from his wheelchair in a programme that included the prelude to Wagner's Lohengrin, he also received a standing ovation when he took to the stage.
After various health problems including aggravated Parkinsonism and the removal of a kidney in recent years, Levine suffered a fall in August 2011 that left him with no feeling in his legs, and put an end to his performing schedule.
However, therapy since then has seen feeling return to his legs and he is now able to walk again. It is hoped that he will make a full recovery in time.
According to reports in The Washington Post, Levine's conducting was freer than it had been before his absence from the stage began. His wheelchair was lifted onto a small podium about three feet above the ground, from which position he blew a kiss to the sold-out audience.
Levine also conducted Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with Evgeny Kissin at the piano, and Schubert's Symphony No. 9.