Franz Welser-Möst, who was substituted at the Vienna Opera after one act of Parsifal on Sunday, is responding well to physical therapy for a lower-back disorder and will resume conducting in Cleveland next week – or so we are authoritatively informed. UPDATE: No, he wont. Cleveland Orchestra announced today that the back pain is too severe for him to travel (see Comments below).
Contrary to heated reports in Viennese media, the conductor did not collapse in the pit. He suffered back pain and withdrew from the opera in order to seek treatment and avoid further damage.
Franz has spoken openly to me and others about the long-term effects of a car crash in his late teens which left him the three broken vertebrae and nerve damage to two fingers in his left hand.
The accident put an end to his career as a violinist and left him with intermittent back pain and an awareness of the role chance can play in the life of a musician. With careful diary management, the injury rarely intrudes on his working life. Sunday was a rare exception. He’s bouncing back.