It’s confirmed: Lorin Maazel will replace Riccardo Muti to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the eagerly awaited Asian tour.
The press release of the orchestra cites the maestro’s immediate need of medical attention :-
After returning to Italy last week suffering from the flu, Maestro Muti sought further medical care. He was subsequently diagnosed with an inguinal hernia, which requires surgical treatment as soon as possible. His doctors determined that to delay the surgery until after the scheduled tour to Asia could lead to complications.
He has cancelled earlier performances due to flu-like symptoms, and was replaced by Edo de Waart. Instead of asking Mr. de Waart to step in, the orchestra asks Mr. Maazel, a veteran New York Philharmonic music director, who has visited Hong Kong in 2008 and then in 2012 with the Philharmonia.
The orchestra says, in the press release, that Mr. Muti is suffering from inguinal hernia (viewer’s discretion required for visiting this link).
The Hong Kong Arts Festival is presenting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Mr. Muti as one of its pre-festival opening events.
It is expected that the festival will announce shortly Mr. Muti’s absence.
It certainly is one of the highest profile change-of-artist in recent memories; an equally high-profile change of artist happened in 2004, when Gennady Rozhdestvensky was replaced by Daniel Harding leading the London Symphony Orchestra. A well publicised withdrawal recently was the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s very own Edo de Waart, having to withdraw from the season opening appearance of Das Lied von der Erde in 2011 due to medical condition.
Update: The Hong Kong Arts Festival has also announced the replacement. There is also a change of programme on January 28, having the Jupiter Symphony (again!) instead of the scheduled Stravinsky and Busoni.