More than a year after a series of ailments forced him to cancel all of his engagements, Seiji Ozawa has returned to conducting with a series of opera performances in Japan.
The maestro was on the podium last week with Tokyo Opera Nomori, the company he founded in the Japanese capital in 2005, for Wagner's Tannhäuser on March 15 and 18 (there was one further performance tonight). The production was a new staging by Robert Carsen which will be seen later this year at the Liceu in Barcelona and the Paris Opera. Stephen Gould sang the title role, with Mlada Khudoley, Michelle DeYoung and Lucas Meachem co-starring.
Agence France-Presse and ORF (the Austrian national broadcaster) report that Ozawa conducted the entire three-hour-plus opera standing up and that critics said he was "in good form."
Ozawa, now 71, was obliged to withdraw from all of his performances through 2006 due to severe bouts of pneumonia, shingles and related ailments.
His next scheduled appearance at the Vienna State Opera, of which he is music director, will be with a production of Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer beginning April 29.