The Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter has withdrawn from her upcoming concert performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra after the death of her husband, Benny Fredriksson. Aged 58, he died in Sydney at the weekend. Australian tenor Stuart Skelton will travel to Sydney to replace von Otter, who has returned to Sweden.

Anne Sofie von OtterAnne Sofie von Otter. Photo supplied 

Fredriksson, an actor and director, was accompanying von Otter and members of their family on her international tour, which saw her perform at the Adelaide Festival and with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

“The entire Sydney Symphony Orchestra family extends its heartfelt condolences to Anne Sofie and her family at this terribly sad time,” said SSO Chief Executive Officer Emma Dunch. “There are no words to express the shock of this news. We will use music, our universal language, to convey our support, and we will dedicate our performances this week to Anne Sofie, Benny and their family.”

“We are very grateful to Stuart Skelton, who has gone to considerable lengths to join us in concert on very short notice,” Dunch added. “He and Maestro Donald Runnicles have a relationship that spans over 20 years, back to the time that Stuart was a young artist in the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and Donald was Music Director there. They have devised a tribute program of Lieder songs with Maestro Runnicles accompanying Mr Skelton on piano that will be truly fitting and memorable as a first half to our previously scheduled Mahler Symphony No 10.”

Find concert information here