Entertainment & Arts

Vienna opera director collapses during performance

Franz Welser-Moest
Image caption Franz Welser-Moest is also the director of Cleveland Orchestra in the US

The musical director of the Vienna State Opera was treated in hospital after collapsing with back pain while conducting a Wagner opera on Sunday.

Franz Welser-Moest collapsed into his podium at the end of the first act of the four-and-a-half-hour long Parsifal.

He suffered a severe attack of lumbago when he raised his baton, the opera house said on Monday.

The performance, celebrating Richard Wagner, continued after a colleague stepped in.

Welser-Moest, who is also director of the Cleveland Orchestra in the United States, was admitted to hospital following the incident but allowed to return home later that same evening.

Vienna State Opera house - known as the Wiener Staatsoper - is one of the busiest opera houses in the world, producing 50 to 60 operas a year in approximately 200 performances.

Welser-Moest took up the role of musical director in 2010, replacing Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa, who was forced to take a break from performing due to illness.

Before Welser-Moest became a conductor, he worked as a trained violinist with some of the most respected orchestras around the world, including the philharmonic orchestras of Vienna and Berlin, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, and the Orchestras of Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles and New York.

He was voted the orchestra chief of the year 2003 by the magazine Musical America.

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