Conductor says no to vampires

From the Associated Press

Acclaimed conductor Franz Welser-Moest will not take the rostrum for two scheduled billings of a vampire-inspired staging of "Die Fledermaus" at the Zurich Opera, the Swiss opera house said Wednesday.

Welser-Moest, the general director in Zurich and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, will not conduct the Johann Strauss Jr. operetta either on May 17 or June 20 because of "artistic reasons," said spokeswoman Nadia Stefanizzi.

Last month, the daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported that the 47-year-old Austrian was "unhappy" with the staging by his compatriot Michael Sturminger, who infused vampires and Dracula's castle into the 19th-century Viennese operetta.

Sturminger wrote the text for Musica Angelica's "Seduction and Despair" recently staged at Barnum Hall in Santa Monica and starring John Malkovich.

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