Citing reports in the German press, Musical America reports that the 50-year-old music director of Venice's La Fenice collapsed while rehearsing the Munich Radio Orchestra in a concert performance of Massenet's Manon.
Initially, newspaper accounts suggested that he had merely fainted; it was later reported that he had developed a blood clot that required surgery. It now appears that he suffered a stroke. According to today's S‹ddeutsche Zeitung, Viotti is on artificial life support and is not expected to survive.
A message on Viotti's web site says only that "Marcello Viotti is very ill at the moment and he is in the hospital in Munich."
Born in Switzerland, Viotti studied at the Lausanne Conservatory and made his debut as a conductor in Geneva. He won the Gino Marinuzzi conducting competition in 1982, and has since served as chief conductor of Torino Opera, artistic director of the Lucerne State Theater, music director of the German city of Bremen, chief conductor of the Saarbr‹cken Radio Symphony, and chief conductor of the Munich Radio Symphony. He has been music director of the newly restored La Fenice since 2002.
He has also made guest appearances with orchestras and opera companies around the world, including the Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera, and New York Philharmonic.