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Vincent Vargas is a foreign language teacher at a private school in New York City. He runs websites dedicated to Casablanca (www.vincasa.com) and Richard Wagner (www.wagneroperas.com).

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Conductor Marcello Viotti Dies

Marcello Viotti, the famed musical director of Venice's La Fenice Opera House, died Wednesday night at a German hospital after falling into a coma following surgery. He was 50 years old.

The following is the obituary posted on the Washington Post website:

Conductor Marcello Viotti Dies in Germany
By GEIR MOULSONThe Associated Press
Thursday, February 17, 2005; 5:58 AM

BERLIN - Marcello Viotti, the music director of Venice's famed La Fenice Theater who also conducted at New York's Metropolitan Opera and other leading houses, died at a German hospital after falling into a coma. He was 50.

Viotti died Wednesday night after being in a coma for several days at a clinic in Munich, Germany, his agent, Paul Steinhauser, said by telephone from Vienna, Austria. Viotti, music director at La Fenice since 2002, conducted several renowned orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the English Chamber Orchestra. Viotti, music director at La Fenice since 2002, conducted several renowned orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the English Chamber Orchestra. He also conducted at opera houses around the world, including Milan's La Scala, the Met and the Vienna State Opera.

Born June 29, 1954, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Viotti held citizenship in several European countries, said the Hilbert artists' agency in Munich, which also represented him.
He studied the piano, cello and voice at the Lausanne Conservatory and made his conducting debut in nearby Geneva with a wind ensemble that he founded. In 1982, he won first prize at the Gino Marinuzzi conducting competition in Italy, which kicked off his career.

Viotti rose to prominence as chief conductor of the Turin Opera. He also served as artistic director of the Lucerne Stadttheater in Switzerland and conducted orchestras in the German cities of Saarbruecken and Leipzig. At La Fenice, Viotti won acclaim for his production of Massenet's "Thais." His other productions at the storied Venice opera included Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata" and Richard Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos."

Viotti made his debut at the Met in 2000 with Giacomo Puccini's "Madame Butterfly." He later returned to the New York opera house for "La Boheme," "La Traviata" and Fromental Halevy's "La Juive." He recently conducted a production of Verdi's "Aida" there. This spring, he was due to conduct a new production of Richard Wagner's "Parsifal" in Venice. He also was scheduled to conduct "La Traviata" at the Salzburg Festival in Austria.

"I am so sad to tell you that it is finished. That's it," Viotti's brother, Silvio, wrote in a message posted on the conductor's Web site. "Marcello has finished his journey on this earth. I don't know what to say."

Details on other survivors and funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

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