Latest: Seiji Ozawa suffers pneumonia setback

Latest: Seiji Ozawa suffers pneumonia setback


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2011

My inbox went red last night with reports that Seiji Ozawa had pulled out of the second performance of Bluebeard’s Castle with the Saito Kinen orchestra in Matsumoto. The production marked his return from a year of cancer treatment and there were fears that he had done himself a mischief by accelerating his return. He is, after all, 75 years old.

Close associates of the conductor told me there  was nothing seriously wrong with him. He took a break after the opening performance to husband his strength for the coming tour of China.  Here’s an on-the-spot report from principal bassoon, Rob Weir:

He had been going in pretty high gear since the beginning of the festival and I think prudence kicked in after the first performance. He has a lot to do here and then on into the China part and it was better that he take a break now I think. A matter of pacing himself. His very capable assistant, Pierre Vallet, did a fantastic job last night and it made for a seamless transition due to all of Seiji’s detailed prep and first performance with us. The audience was ecstatic and fabulously supportive when the announcement was made. 

However, Reuters now reports that Seiji has a  minor bout of pneumonia, not bad enough to be hospitalised. “He is currently being treated for a light case of pneumonia and dehydration,” a festival spokeswoman said.

We wish him well.