For his Baltimore visit, James will be focusing on two composers who left particularly strong marks on the armonica repertoire.

In Donizetti's case, that mark almost disappeared. He wanted an armonica to add atmosphere to the heroine's tragic mad scene in "Lucia," but crossed out the part and substituted flute just before the premiere.

In recent decades, attempts to re-create the composer's first intentions have become more common. One of those attempts was made at the Kennedy Center last fall in a production by Washington National Opera, although with some cheating — a synthesizer was employed as backup.

For the Concert Artists of Baltimore's all-Mozart program, James will play the gentle, haunting Adagio from 1791, the year the composer died.

"Mozart played an armonica at least once and was totally taken with the instrument," James said. "The Adagio is extremely well-written."

tim.smith@baltsun.com

If you go

Baltimore Concert Opera presents "Lucia di Lammermoor" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. March 25 at the Engineers Club, 11 W. Mount Vernon Place. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 443-445-0226 or go to baltimoreconcertopera.com.

Concert Artists of Baltimore presents "The Musical Life of Mozart" at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Peabody Institute, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place. Tickets are $22 to $35. Call 410-625-3525 or go to cabalto.org.

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