I have no beefs with the article, which is well worth reading. But the thrust of some of the comments shocked me. Okay, okay, I know: I should never be shocked by what I find in comments to a newspaper article. Still.
First, a number of commenters referred to Levine's age as if he were old. Well, he is 66 years old - but that is late middle age and hardly old for a conductor. Take a look around: Pierre Boulez, 85; Herbert Blomstedt, 83; Claudio Abbado, 78; Riccardo Muti 69; Michael Tilson Thomas, 65; Christoff Eschenbach, 70; Christoph von Dohnanyi, 80; Charles Mackerras, 84; Lorin Maazel, 80.
At 66, Levine is at the low end of this particular group, and it's true that about half of these conductors aren't currently music directors of an orchestra, let alone music directors of an orchestra and a major opera company. Donald Runnicles, age 55, and Frankly, er, Franz Welser-Most, 49, both have dual appointments, though FW-M's Vienna State Opera appointment doesn't commence until this fall. Other currently-active U.S. orchestral and operatic music directors are younger than Levine: Alan Gilbert, 43; Gustavo Dudamel, 29; Nicola Luisotti, 49; James Conlon, 60.
Moral of this particular story: Levine's age isn't the issue here. It's his health problems and absences.
Second...I was extremely surprised by how many people missed Seiji Ozawa. Ozawa was music director of the BSO for more than 30 years; by the end of his tenure, the orchestra's morale was extremely poor and it was clear he'd overstayed his welcome by quite a bit. Anthony Tommasini wrote about these issues in a 1993 Times article, and there was plenty about these problems in the press when Ozawa finally retired. (Note Tommasini's passing mention of the warhorse listener vs. the adventurous listener. The more things change...) Chacun a son gout, but preferring Ozawa to Levine?