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American Masters

James Levine: America's Maestro

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To celebrate his 40th anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera, conductor James Levine's life and current work are the subject of a documentary that captures the essence of his unparalleled musicianship and his singular teaching and performance style, while looking back at creative milestones since his Met debut in 1971 at the age of 28. Over the past 12 months, filmmaker Susan Froemke has followed Levine. Included in the film are intimate scenes between the maestro and longtime collaborator Placido Domingo as they rehearse Verdi's Simon Boccanegra; intense rehearsals with the Met Orchestra as they prepare for their first performance of Beethoven's 5th Symphony at Carnegie Hall; and Levine's poignant coaching sessions with aspiring young singers preparing to launch their careers. The film provides a revealing portrait of one of classical music's giants, exploring how Levine transformed the Met's orchestra into one of the great ensembles, elicited legendary performances from leading singers, and nurtured new generations of artists.
 

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