One of the most important voices of my generation is without doubt Cecilia Bartoli. Her career has been one I've followed since the early 90's when she rose to international prominence singing Mozart and Rossini but it wasn't until the release of her Vivaldi album that I really sat up and took great interest.
From then I was hooked. The gorgeous dark smoky quality of her voice holds much allure but her ability to hurl the most difficult fioritura out into the auditorium remains a marvel to this day. Not only that, her ability to convey such raw emotion and tragedy in her singing of such Baroque masterpieces to me remains unsurpassed. She opened up a whole new repertoire to me that I had always considered more technique over emotional substance.
There is so much to this singer than merely singing, her musicology is to be admired as well. Her art has brought to light the incredible works of Baroque composers that may have forever remained in their more illustrious counterparts shadows, composers like Porpora, Caldera and Broschi.
Take her work on the albums Opera Prohibita, Sacrificium and The Mission for example. here she not only brings to light many a neglected masterpiece, but also shows her incredible range of emotion as well as technique. She's also not adverse to taking chances in the recording studio which invariably pay off, take last years' Norma for example, and her album dedicated to the great Maria Malibran, a fach she wasn't until now associated with.
Of all the musical highlights of my life I can count seeing La Bartoli in recital as one of the best. As an encore to a program of Italian songs she sang the following aria from Sacrificium. Even after such a long program in which she delighted the audience with not only her musicality but her engaging humour and knowledge, she sang this without fatigue, much to my delight.
If La Bartoli ever comes to a concert hall or opera house near you, I can thoroughly recommend a night of pure musical delight from one of the greatest musical talents of our time. Buon Compleanno Cecilia!
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