Barenboim cancels piano concert in Monaco, citing health

MILAN (AP) — Prominent pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim has canceled a piano recital at the Opera de Monte-Carlo due to the effects of a serious neurological condition, the opera house announced on Wednesday.

Barenboim expressed his regret in a message to the audience, saying that “despite my best efforts, I have not yet built up the muscular strength to perform piano recital programs.”

Barenboim was diagnosed last year with the condition, which forced him step down in January as music director at the Berlin State Opera after three decades.

The 80-year-old musician has returned to conducting, appearing in Milan, Berlin and Vienna since mid-February, and he noted that his health “has improved greatly over the past weeks.”

During the Berlin concerts, he accompanied soprano Cecilia Bartoli on the piano, and in Vienna performed a piano duet with Martha Argerich, whom he has known since childhood.

He said he was saddened to cancel the upcoming recital, but added that with his “health improving, I am very much set upon returning to the Opera de Monte-Carlo on the first possible occasion, be it as a pianist or a conductor.”

Bartoli, who is the Monte Carlo opera's director, said the performance on Friday had been planned as a homage to Barenboim's 80th birthday last Nov. 15. Violinist Maxim Vengerov will step in, playing music by Beethoven, Franck and Tchaikovsky with pianist Roustem Saitkoulov.

The Associated Press