One may need more than half of one’s life to understand, relish and praise the aura of Cecilia Bartoli. To come out of the spell of her music it takes days and months and still one long for more of the heavenly nectar of her music. Yes we are discussing the beautiful and famous mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.
Born on 4th June 1966 in Rome she owes a lot to her parents Silvana Bazzoni and Angelo Bartoli, as they were perhaps the first craftsmen to chisel the talent out of Bartoli, as both were professional singers. The journey to be the famous and charming opera singer and recitalist started at much early age when she gave her first public performance as a shepherd boy in Tosca at the mere age of nine. Who would have thought that one day the same performer would sparkle in the sky of fame and glory in future? She was enriched in Conservatorio di Santa
Cecilia while doing her studies later. Her youth was not only charmed by her beauty but also with her growing talent and recognition in the field of opera singing. It was in the age of nineteen the world saw her in a talent show on Italian television. Thanks to the conductor Riccardo Muti who later invited her for audition at La Scala. This was in the year 1985; she already started to scale her ladder of fame by the footstep of her talent.
By the year 1990 she was there at the Salzburg Easter festival invited this time by Herbert von Karajan. Bartoli was now coming into limelight and she was snatching attention almost every big persona and conductors of the music right from Daniel Barenboim to Nikolaus Harnoncourt. 1996 was the year of fortune for her and the world opera lovers as she made her debut in Metropolitan Opera, the largest opera house of the world as Despina in Cosi fan Tutte. The return was equally welcomed when she sung Cenerentola. Her attention on stage was more to baroque and early classical era vocal music.
Before we further go deep into the world of Bartoli’s amazing achievements let us have a little idea of the beautiful, hard and tough notes of mezzo-sopranos. Mezzo-soprano or half soprano normally is a female singer gifted with a range extending from A flat below middle C to flat two octaves above thereby blessing her with a rich vocal tone than the sopranos. Mezzo-soprano sometimes is reffered as Dugazon and Galli-Marie. The middle C mentioned here is actually the note C which is located between the staves of the grand staff which is sometimes reffered as C4 in note octave form. The location is in the middle of the keyboard and shows a frequency of 261.625 hertz approximately.
Taking about the unique sales proposition of Bartoli anyone can highlight her vivacious persona on stage matching with her charm and beauty and the immense talent of music which she developed throughout the year. Parallel to other mezzo-sopranos like Janet Baker, Monica Groop, Brigitte Fassbaender, Christa Ludwig and Barbara Dever, Bartoli has her own identity of unique style singing much influenced with the early era vocal music.
Now let me take a deep breath before we start counting her stars in opera singing as the list is as big as her name. Apart from what we have discussed before she had worked with famous conductors like Claudio Abbado, William Christie, Charles Dutoit, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Georg Solti, James Levine, Marc Minkovski, Christopher Hogwood and Giuseppe Sinopoli. It’s not over yet. To add to this Bartoli’s recital appearances been fortified with notes from leading pianist like Andras Schiff, Daniel Barennoim and Jean- Yves Thibauder. As been a multidimensional talent in opera singing Bartoli has created several milestones in concert arias of Mozart, Puccini, Rossini, Berlioz, Ravel, Viardot and Bizet. Her remarkable performances of Mozart operas in almost all the renowned opera houses across the globe created a history of its own. Rossini is also her equal favorite, as one should not forget her performances in La Cenerentola, Turco in Italy.
Hat’s off to the beauty Cecilia Bartoli whose collaboration to some of the most renowned and gifted period instrument Orchestra has created ripples in the sea of lovers of opera adding new admirers for this wonderful and marvelous form of art. To name some the Concentus Musicus Wien, Le Musiche Nove, Les Arts Florissant, II Giardino Armonico, Freiburger Barockorcester, Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin and The Academy of Ancient Music. The orchestral recitals, which the audience won’t forget as long as they are on this earth, are
Gluck Italian Arias, Cecilia and Bryn, Rossini recitals, the Vivaldi album, Mozart Portraits, Rossini Heroines and Mozart Arias. The gems from her Piano recitals are engraved in Live in Italy, An Italian songbook, Italian song, Chant D’ Amour and Arie Antiche. To relish the richness of opera we have Rinaldo, Mitridate, La Clemenza di Tito, II Turco in Italia, La Cenerentola, II Barbiere di Siviglia, Orfeo ed Euridice and Manon Lescaut.
The blessing of art, beauty and esthetic sense is a rare combination in this world and like jewels they are precious also. Cecilia Bartoli is a perfect example of the rarest combination of god’s creation and certainly she was rewarded much with the recognition she has. To see the jewels in her crown one should not overlook her award winning “Vivaldi Album” which created a new wave among the opera lovers and redefined the opera to the newcomers. With its release in the autumn of 1999 the world saw new light in Antonio Vivaldi
operas. But the Grammy award was bagged by the heavenly “Gluck Album” released in the subsequent year. To share her talents more to the world Bartoli renewed her contract with the Decca music group in the summer of 2002 and the baby was the “Salieri Album” recorded with the grand “Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment”, conducted by the famous Adam fisher. During the subsequent year we have seen her larger than life performances in places in Europe.
Cecilia Bartoli can be said as a living legend with her music casting the spell in the past, the present and hopefully in the future too. There are very few natural, precious, glorious and yet delicate things in this world and our effort should always be to preserve such gifts of god for ever. May the river of opera music flow from her throat adding honey to our ears ages after ages and jewels of glory be the part of her being.