5 de Diapason -
Gramophone Editor's Choice -
Cecilia Bartoli takes us on a journey leading from Italy to Russia which traces the development of opera in St. Petersburg. Through the actions of three powerful Tsarists, the previously non-existent musical life of the entire nation was awoken: Anna of Russia (Anna Ivanovna), Elizabeth I (Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great) and Catherine II (Sophia Augusta Frederica of Anhalt-Zerbst). In addition to attracting performers, they also attracted many Italian composers, the first of whom would be Francesco Araia, followed by Manfredini and Cimarosa, among others. The program of this album follows original themes adored by Bartoli herself, and includes some long lost treasures by other composers such as Hermann Friedrich Raupach - the first harpsichordist and composer of the court following the dismissal of Araia. It is by sifting through the archives of the Mariinsky Theatre that Cecilia Bartoli has gathered this anthology opera excerpts, most of which are previously unpublished.