TOKYO Feb 19 Seiji Ozawa, Japan's most famous
conductor, is set to make a comeback in August at a music
festival after taking more than a year off to recover from a
spell of bad health that included bouts of pneumonia.
The former Vienna State Opera music director, 77, who before
that was conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was
diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January 2010 and completed
treatment later that year.
Last March, he announced he would take a year-long break
from conducting to recover his strength after a number of health
issues but vowed to return to performing.
Ozawa is set to conduct Maurice Ravel's opera "The Child and
the Spells" at the Saito Kinen Festival in the city of
Matsumoto, central Japan, in late August, said an official at
the festival office.
"Maestro Ozawa said last March that he was taking a year
off, and that year is almost up," the official said, noting that
it's hard to know if the performance will truly mark Ozawa's
comeback since the performance date is so far away.
"It just so happens that this coincides with the
announcement of the festival programme. He may well have other
performances planned before then that we just don't know about."
Ozawa underwent endoscopic lower back surgery in January
2011 and took a six-month break from conducting at that time.
This was followed by the announcement last March of a more
Ozawa was one of the first Asian classical musicians widely
recognised abroad and has strived to revitalize the classical
music scene in his native country by founding the Saito Kinen
orchestra, named after his former music teacher.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Paul Tait)