When I read that James Levine first conducted the Metropolitan Opera in June of 1971 when he would have been about to turn 28, I realized that I had to come out of hiding. My refuge was psychological in nature—I huddled behind the shield I had made of my youth. I was always telling myself that I too could and would accomplish great things by the time I reached the age that my heroes first published their breakout novels, or painted their seminal works, or sewed their first Muppets. The thing was, I was about to turn 28 myself. And I had nothing to show for it.

Jeanvier Chirac
Tourcoing, November 1982


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