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A last-minute Mozart switch

January 26, 2006|From Associated Press

Salzburg, Austria — CECILIA BARTOLI is replacing Renee Fleming in Friday's internationally broadcast concert celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth.

Fleming was to have sung the aria "Ch'io mi scordi di te?" along with the motet "Exsultate jubilate" and the duet "La ci darem la mano" from "Don Giovanni" with baritone Thomas Hampson. The International Mozarteum Foundation, organizer of the concert, said in a statement that Fleming withdrew for "vocal reasons" related to the first aria.

"This aria is one of the masterpieces of Mozart and a central part of the concert celebrating his birthday," the statement said. "Under these circumstances, the Mozarteum Foundation made the decision to invite another artist at short notice to replace Ms. Fleming in the concert to retain the integrity of the program."

"Renee tried up until the very last minute to make the aria 'Ch'io mi scordi di te?' work in her voice and, frankly, it's just too low," Fleming spokeswoman Mary Lou Falcone said. "Having just sung the 'Daphne' and the 'Manon,' her voice is sitting much too high, and she couldn't make it work."

Bartoli is a mezzo-soprano, while Fleming is a soprano.

The concert at the Grosses Festspielhaus features the Vienna Philharmonic with conductor Riccardo Muti. It will be broadcast locally on KMZT-FM (105.1) at 9 a.m. Friday, with a repeat that day at 5 p.m.

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