Japanese conductor's opera performance in Ukraine receives standing ovation

An internationally acclaimed Japanese conductor led an opera at a Ukrainian theater on Sunday, aiming to uplift the spirits of people in the country through music amid Russia's invasion.

Yoshida Hirofumi conducted Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme" at the Odesa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in front of 1,300 spectators.

The theater in southern Ukraine reopened in June last year after a temporary closure due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"La Boheme" is about young artists with dreams and is set in 19th-century Paris. The Italy-based 54-year-old conductor said he chose the opera because he wanted to convey friendship and hope.

The audience gave him a standing ovation after the performance.

Yoshida said he poured his heart into it, and he believes he successfully conveyed his emotions.

He expressed hope that a day will soon come when the people of Ukraine can visit the theater without any concerns and enjoy music from the bottom of their hearts.

One spectator in her 30s said the music was so powerful that it evoked vivid scenes when she closed her eyes. She also said she would like to applaud the singers, the orchestra members and the conductor.

A woman in her 20s said the Japanese conductor was remarkable. She added that her father is also a conductor and expressed confidence that he would greatly appreciate the performance.