Conductor James Levine returns from 2-year absence

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Associated Press

Posted on May 19, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Updated Sunday, May 19 at 3:35 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Conductor James Levine has returned from an absence of more than two years to lead the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in a concert at Carnegie Hall.

The 69-year-old Levine was left partially paralyzed by a fall in August 2011 and is regaining use of his legs. He conducted from a motorized wheelchair lifted about 3 feet in the air by a mechanical podium constructed for his use by the Met.

When he wheeled on stage, Levine received a one-minute standing ovation from the crowd in the 2,804-seat auditorium, blew a kiss to the audience and raised both hands. The audience responded with 7½ minutes of applause after the concert.

Levine made his Met debut in 1971 and had not conducted in public since May 14, 2011.

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