Cecilia Bartoli, the revered, ebullient, and unique mezzo-soprano, does not like to fly in airplanes. Yet she managed to journey to St. Petersburg, Russia—apparently she swam there, if we are to trust YouTube—to dig up the preferred tunes of 18th century “tsaritsas” (empresses). Ms. Bartoli is known for her innovative projects and for the infectious enthusiasm she brings to them, but certainly she must be setting records here—we are talking 11 (count them) world-premiere recordings. And what a thrill for the audience at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, which hosted not one but two sold-out evenings with the reigning queen of opera-you-never-would-have-known joined by the superb I Barocchisti ensemble under the direction of Diego Fasolis. Read more »
Before there was Verdi’s Otello, Rossini’s Otello was considered the master operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. It’s easy to see why Rossini’s Otello was acclaimed at its time, and also why Verdi’s Otello eventually eclipsed the Rossini version. The main deficiency in Rossini’s version is that the libretto is so much weaker than Boito’s libretto for Verdi’s opera. Boito masterfully condensed Shakespeare’s play into an inexorable, terrifying tragedy. Rossini’s libretto (by Francesco Maria Berio di Salsa) excises a lot of Shakespeare’s dramatic devices and then adds unnecessary filler. Read more »
The legions of New York opera buffs who now can’t talk about anything but Javier Camarena will be happy to know that there’s now a DVD release of their new favorite tenor in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory available. The performance was actually filmed in 2011 in Zurich, and will be of immense interest not only to Camareniacs, but to Rossini scholars and to fans of Cecilia Bartoli, who limits her staged operatic performances outside her artistic home in Zurich. Read more »
This cozy video of Il Barbiere di Siviglia was recently re-released and will be of interest to those who are only familiar with Cecilia Bartoli‘s work after she became an international star.
Winter Met sensation Pretty Yende does another jump-in this weekend, again in Le Comte Ory, but this time at the Theater an der Wien.
Yes, that’s the lovely and talented Cecilia Bartoli peeking out from under those bangs, offering us a glimpse of her first staged Cleopatra.
A rare production of Rossini’s Otello, with a perhaps even rarer stage performance by Cecilia Bartoli (in her role debut as Desdemona) should provide an interesting afternoon’s viewing this Thursday.