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Opera Extracts - Released January 1, 2007 | Universal Music

Distinctions Choc du Monde de la Musique - Diapason d'or / Arte - RTL d'Or - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine
In this tribute to the great nineteenth century mezzo-soprano, Maria Malibran, Cecilia Bartoli sings selections from the repertoire for which Malibran was known. Malibran also ventured into soprano roles, and Bartoli bravely and entirely successfully follows her into that territory. In fact, the primary impression the CD creates is astonishment and awe at the extraordinary range of these selections, and Bartoli's ease, absolute security, and seamless delivery, from above the treble staff to the middle of the bass staff. Hummel's Air à la Tirolienne avec variations may not be a musical masterpiece, but as a showcase for Bartoli's range, dizzying coloratura, and yodeling ability, it is breathtaking. The collection is made up of much music written especially for Malibran, and besides giving Bartoli a chance to dazzle, the pieces are irrefutable testimony to how remarkable an artist Malibran must have been. Some of the most striking pieces are the recitative and aria from her father's opera La Figlia dell'aria, a concert scena and aria by Mendelssohn, and a song by Malibran herself, which requires both a command of extended vocal techniques and a sense of humor, and Bartoli brings it off with panache. One of the strengths of the collection is its inclusion of so much repertoire that's virtually unknown today. Only three excerpts from Bellini operas and one by Rossini are likely to be familiar to most opera lovers. Bartoli's "Casta Diva" is a marvel of purity, restraint, and emotional vulnerability, and is by itself worth the price of the album. Adam Fischer conducts Orchestra La Scintilla in lively accompaniments to Bartoli's vibrant and supple performances. The CD should be of strong interest to any fans of early nineteenth century coloratura repertoire.

Classical - Released November 10, 2017 | Decca

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
This is a gentle kind of duet, which sets up Cecilia Bartoli "opposite" cellist Sol Gabetta, if we can speak of "opposition". The two stars chose a few airs out of the baroque repertoire where the composers have included a part for cello, and the two lines intertwine against the backdrop of the continuo or the orchestra. Albinoni, Caldara, Haendel and many others have often married the cello's deep voice with the light, airy tones of the soprano in a game of mirrors, contrasts, and "he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not”... This highly original billing benefits not only from the duettists' clear talents, but also the involvement of the Capella Gabetta led by the violinist Andrés Gabetta - to be sure, in the duets of old it wasn't the done thing for other performers to get involved, but in this instance, it adds up to a perfect balance. It's certainly not the end of the world - or of this duet! This album, highly original, is one of September's nicest surprises.

Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio

Opera Extracts - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine
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.

Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
Don't hate this album because it has been beautifully marketed, for if you do you'll miss out on something extraordinary. Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli reportedly worked on it for three years, even suggesting a mystery-novel tie-in, and her label, Decca, kept the contents under wraps until the album's release, dropping hints via Internet videos. When the album appeared, it was issued in a limited-edition hardbound package including numerous essays covering aspects of the life of the composer involved, Agostino Steffani. These range from the cogent and helpful (one details Steffani's influence on Handel) to the probably woolly, shading off into the fictional treatment that's also associated with the project. The album's title reflects the fact that Steffani was a composer-diplomat, born in Italy but active for much of his life in Germany, and surrounded by various kinds of intrigue that seem to figure tangentially into some of the arias on the album. This is all intriguing, and if it spawns a feature film somewhere along the way that's all to the good, but the best news is that none of it is necessary; you can buy the album online or in its plain jewel-box version, familiarize yourself briefly with what it's about, and then be blown away. Perhaps part of Bartoli's "mission" was to elevate the music of the little-known Steffani; if so, she succeeds brilliantly, and one hopes that the release will be followed by full productions of some of Steffani's operas. Stylistically he's all over the map, with some barn-burning virtuoso arias mixed in with splendid trumpet-dominated pieces (Bartoli's interaction here with conductor Diego Fasolis and his orchestra I Barocchisti is a thing of wonder), and shorter tunes that sound a bit like Purcell. Bartoli is on top of every note, and she combines absolute technical mastery with emotional involvement to the hilt in the music's mostly flamboyantly romantic texts. This is a bravura performance that lives up to its considerable hype, and it marks a new milestone for the historical-performance movement, which finally gets a vocalist who can match the efforts of its more imaginative conductors.

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2009 | Decca

Booklet Distinctions Diapason découverte - Choc de Classica
It has been a long three years since Cecilia Bartoli's previous release, Maria, brought nineteenth century coloratura Maria Malibran into the public consciousness. Decca's Sacrificium -- which reunites Bartoli with expert period band Il Giardino Armonico for the first time since 1999's The Vivaldi Album -- certainly makes clear that it was well worth the wait. In keeping with her long series of themed collections of opera arias, in this release Bartoli explores literature associated with the long lost vocal range of the castrati, male singers who were surgically altered in puberty in order to retain the high end of their voices into adulthood. The outlawing of castrati in Italy in 1870 brought this vicious practice to an end, but it also condemned two centuries' worth of operatic and sacred music to obscurity owing to the unsuitability of ordinary voices to sing in this special range; since then, a number of male countertenors have come to grips with it, with varying degrees of success, and an increasing number of females -- usually altos -- have been adopting castrato literature, as well. Bartoli -- a mezzo-soprano -- has got an amazing top end, well demonstrated in the earlier Maria release, but here she exhibits the bottom of her range to stunning effect; at one point when she dips down low in Francesco Araia's aria "Cadrò, ma qual si mira," Bartoli sounds like a man. While there are plenty of male singers who can approximate female voice, for it to go the other way around is indeed rare. Also rare are the 12 selections on the main disc, every one of them a premiere recording of some kind. Bartoli has long established herself as an advocate for neglected or little known literature, and there is such a wealth of unused castrato literature that coming by such material probably wasn't difficult, but it also seems the album's producers were quite careful in finding examples that were representative of the theme, musically challenging for Bartoli and of generally excellent quality; even Il Giardino Armonico gets a great workout in "Nobil onda," an aria from Nicola Porpora's 1723 opera Adelaide. It is Porpora who emerges from this material as the champion composer for castrati, which is gratifying; an increasing number of Porpora releases in the times leading up to Sacrificium makes clear that he was one of the greats among Western composers and it's nice to see a major label like Decca pay some homage to him. However, Sacrificium's compilers have not lost sight of the unique talents of the star performer; no one would accuse Porpora's "Usignolo sventurato" from the opera Siface as being a great aria, with its limited range and texture. However, Bartoli's sensuous delivery and bold characterization of the piece makes something very special out of it, a major highlight of the program. Bartoli's voice is of a quality that cuts through the veils of history and delivers this obscure music with absolute perfection; Decca's Sacrificium should easily please all comers.

Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année

Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Decca

Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice

Classical - Released January 1, 1991 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Classical - Released August 22, 1989 | Decca

Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Classical - Released August 2, 1993 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Decca


Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2005 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | Decca

The gleaming smile in the cover shot belongs to a young mezzo-soprano coasting at the top of her game, thrilled at the chance to show off in the 400-year-old Teatro Olimpico in Vicenze. The cheers interspersed throughout this June 1998 concert are her adoring fellow Italians. Count yourself lucky to be able to join them and Cecilia Bartoli with a recording that faithfully reflects the scrumptious range of both her voice and emotional dynamics. Within the first three selections by Caccini, Bartoli displays crystal-clear diction, from a warm mezzo lower range all the way up to the gentle, airy tones at the top of her soprano. She unleashes a potent battery of coloratura techniques in the Vivaldi aria. The role of accompaniment passes from the lively Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca to tasteful pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, as Bartoli proceeds to feature impressive, if unseen, characterizations: the folksiness of the Viardot, the low darkness of Rossini's Zelmira. A similar spirit pervades the encores as well, with the androgynous ardor of Mozart's Cherubino and the almost Carmen Mirandaesque zest of the contemporary piece by Montsalvatge. This is a bounty of Bartoli.

Classical - Released March 9, 1998 | Decca


Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca


Cecilia Bartoli in the magazine
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