An annual music program featuring renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa as artistic director will start in March 2005 as part of efforts to make Tokyo a major global center of the arts.

Ozawa and Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara jointly announced Thursday that the program, Tokyo Opera Nomori — a name drawn from an area in Ueno Park known as Ueno no Mori (Ueno Forest) — will be held at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan.

“I hope to attract people who usually don’t go to concerts,” said Ozawa, music director at the Vienna State Opera.

The annual music program will feature a full-length opera, symphonic concerts and chamber music. Ioan Holender, artistic director of the Vienna State Opera, will serve as artistic adviser.

As an inaugural production, the program will feature “Elektra” by Richard Strauss, which is to be conducted by Ozawa and directed by the renowned Robert Carsen from Canada.

“Tokyo has not been able to fully demonstrate its potential and has become less energetic,” Ishihara said. “With this opera and other programs, I hope to energize (Tokyo).” Ishihara also expressed hope that the new music program will give Ozawa an opportunity to increase his activities in Japan.

In 2006, the program will feature Verdi’s “Othello” as a coproduction with the Vienna Staatsoper. The opera will be presented both in Tokyo and Vienna, Ozawa said.

He also expressed hope to put on an opera for children as part of the program in the future.

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