Cleopatra is the theme of Cecilia Bartoli's first season as Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, but one of her Cleopatras has fallen ill. Anna Netrebko, who was due to sing the première of “Cleopatra and the Serpent” by Rodion Shchedrin, as part of the concert “Cleopatra orientale” on 28 May is sick, and will be replaced by soprano Mojca Erdmann.
When Anna called me, consolation was called for, but also immediate replacement casting. My young colleague Mojca Erdmann is learning the piece in 2 days, ready for the world première.
It will not be Erdmann's first appearance in Salzburg. In 2007 a critic wrote,
The surprise of the evening, however, was Mojca Erdmann. …young, slim, blond, sporty, she was Mozart's “Zaide” last year here in Salzburg. Now she sings “Zelmira”, a strong personality, a beautiful, warm, technically perfect voice that is highly expressive. She deservedly received the greatest applause.
The day after Erdmann is scheduled to give a solo recital with works by Schubert and Strauss at the Musikverein in Vienna.
Photo: Mojca Erdmann
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.