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Japanese orchestra to perform without conductor in city

FAMOUS Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa will miss the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto to be staged at Shanghai Grand Theater from September 6 to 11, due to poor health.

The Saito Kinen Orchestra String Ensemble will perform Tchaikovsky's Serenade for String Orchestra without a conductor during the first half of the concert on September 7. Ozawa's assistant conductor Pierre Vallet will replace him for the opera "Bluebeard's Castle" during the second half.

The conductor for Seiji Ozawa Ongaku-juku Concert to be staged on September 11 has not been decided yet.

Ozawa had surgery for esophageal cancer and to his lower back last year. He conducted "Bluebeard's Castle" on August 21 in Japan, but was sent to hospital right after the concert. He was diagnosed with light pneumonia and was absent for performances on August 23 and 25.

Though managing to conduct again on August 27 in Japan, conducting in Shanghai seems to be a mission impossible as he needs further check-ups and treatment according to his doctor.

"It is a pity for me not managing to join the festival in China, and I am very sorry for the inconvenience and worries that it may bring," Ozawa said in an e-mail. "Vallet has been my assistant for years, and he did a very good job on August 23 and 25. I believe that it will be a great opera in China, too."

Vallet is a French conductor that worked as deputy conductor for The Metropolitan Opera for 15 years. He has conducted operas like "Le Barbier de
Séville" and "Othello" in previous Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto.


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