NEW YORK - James Levine, the music director at New York's Metropolitan Opera for 40 years, will retire this year for health reasons, the Met announced on Thursday.
Levine, 72, will step down at the end of the current 2015-16 season in May and continue to work with the Met's young talent development program, the Met said in a statement. His successor was not named.
Thursday's statement said that in recent years Levine had "struggled with the effects of Parkinson's disease, making it increasingly difficult for him to conduct a full schedule of Met performances."
Levine has led more than 2,500 performances at the Met, one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, and has conducted more than 85 different operas ranging from classical to contemporary works.