Maestro rebounds after 18-month rest

Kyodo

Renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa returned to the stage Friday night at the Saito Kinen Music Festival in Nagano Prefecture, making his first appearance in about 18 months after a string of performances were canceled due to health problems.

Ozawa, 77, conducted “The Child and the Spells,” an opera by the Maurice Ravel, for about 50 minutes before an audience of about 1,500 at a concert hall in the city of Matsumoto.

Before the show, Ozawa also conducted a string ensemble by Mozart in memory of violinist Masuko Ushioda, who died in May.

During the curtain call, Ozawa returned to the stage holding the hand of a singer, who was leading the way. He smiled amid the applause many times. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were also in the audience.