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July 28, 2008
A master dodges a bullet...

A conductor like James Levine comes along only once in a generation.

And so it was disturbing to hear about his recent kidney cancer diagnosis, and news that the tumor was malignant.

Fortunately, the tumor was successfully removed last week, according to a recent Boston Globe article. That story said that Levine's cancer was caught in the early stages and his prognosis good.

Levine, 65, who has had health issues in the past, is expected to be on the podium for the beginning of the Met's season opener of Richard Strauss's "Salome" in September.

As current conductor of the Boston Symphony and longtime conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, Levine has earned legendary status in classical music and opera circles. He is equally beloved by musicians and fans.

And you would be hard pressed to find many recordings with him conducting that are not noteworthy.

He first conducted the Met orchestra in 1971 and became its principal conductor two years later. Since then, Levine has turned the Met orchestra into one of the world's finest.

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