Next Monday May 28 Mojca Erdmann will step in for Russian soprano Anna Netrebko to give the world premiere performance of Rodion Shchedrin’s Kleopatra i zmeja (Cleopatra and the asp) with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra. Commissioned by the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, Shchedrin’s Kleopatra i zmeja is a dramatic scene for soprano and orchestra that reimagines the iconic figure of Cleopatra, perhaps most famously depicted in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and Pushkin’s Egyptian Nights.
Netrebko, who had to withdraw from the performance because of illness, will be replaced by Mojca and celebrated mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, who will sing Mozart’s “Parto, parto” from the opera La clemenza di Tito and the thrilling motet Exsultate, jubilate. In a statement released by the Salzburg Festival, Bartoli said: “I am proud that we have found my young colleague Mojca Erdmann to sing Rodion Shchedrin’s world premiere – she will now learn the piece in two days. I will also leap into the breach and contribute two Mozart works to the programme. I wish you all a happy Whitsun Festival; I express my heartfelt thanks to Mojca and wish Anna a speedy recovery!”