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Yannick Nezet-Seguin to Succeed James Levine as Met Opera MD / The New York Times

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For the first time in four decades, the Metropolitan Opera has a new music director. The company announced on Thursday that it was passing the baton long held by James Levine to Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra known for his vital, visceral brand of music making. But to land the highly sought-after Mr. Nézet-Séguin, 41, to succeed Mr. Levine, 72, who stepped down last month after years of uncertainty and cancellations because of health problems, the Met had to agree to a long engagement period.

Since the Montreal-born Mr. Nézet-Séguin's schedule is booked for several years, he will not officially take up the Met post until the 2020-21 season, leaving the company without a full-time music director in the meantime as it grapples with fiscal challenges and box-office struggles. And Mr. Nézet-Séguin (his full name is pronounced yah-NEEK nay-ZAY say-GHEN) plans to divide his duties between the Met and another major American institution, the storied Philadelphia Orchestra, which he has led since 2012. He announced on Thursday that he had extended his contract as music director in Philadelphia through the 2025-26 season.

"I'm very, very lucky, of course - maybe the luckiest music director - to be able to have what I believe to be the two greatest, arguably, organizations in the United States, symphonically and operatically: the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Met," Mr. Nézet-Séguin said. 

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