CE­CILIA BAR­TOLI, OPERA ON THE MOVE

All About Italy (USA) - - Editorial - Yuri Fronteddu

The sub­lime voice of Ce­cilia Bar­toli rewrites the story of lyri­cal music, with a small se­cret: a re­turn to “slow travel”

From its very be­gin­nings, clas­si­cal music has given us in­com­pa­ra­ble mas­ter­pieces, mul­ti­form uni­verses made up of in­de­fin­able tones, notes and melodies ca­pa­ble of as­sum­ing their own dis­tinct soul. If we first con­sider the pe­riod of the Re­nais­sance, with the 16th-cen­tury French Pléi­ade around Ron­sard and the Ital­ian clas­si­cism marked by Vi­valdi and Scar­latti that pro­vided the ba­sis for a pre­baroque Euro­pean 18th cen­tury (Han­del and Bach) of Me­tas­tasian op­er­atic in­spi­ra­tion, we can re­con­nect with the orig­i­nal soul of clas­si­cal music.

This brief meta-his­tor­i­cal pre­lude aids in defin­ing the mu­si­cal reper­tory of our con­tem­po­rary Ce­cilia Bar­toli. Born in Rome on June 4, 1966, a full-time stu­dent of Mozart-era baroque music, she has also al­ways sought to un­der­stand the devel­op­ment of the Rus­sian mu­si­cal soul, div­ing into the orig­i­nal uni­verse of names such as Alek­sandr Su­marokov, Mak­sim So­zon­tovic Bere­zovskij, Dmytro Stepanovyc Bort­n­jans’kyj, and the lit­tle-known (at least in Italy) Yevstigney Fomin. Cham­ber or or­ches­tral per­for­mances in this ge­o­graph­i­cal macro­cosm were gen­er­ally per­formed within the con­text of spe­cial events such as coro­na­tions, var­i­ous an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, or vis­its by prom­i­nent aris­to­crats. A good part of the cham­ber per­for­mances fea­tur­ing Ce­cilia aim to re­vive those magic mo­ments, evok­ing that fes­tive and lux­u­ri­ous at­mos­phere through the study of the contents of old li­bretti in or­der to let her­self be in­flu­enced by their orig­i­nal­ity. This great artist mar­ries the new clas­sics of lyri­cal

Ce­cilia Bar­toli rep­re­sents the rare case of an artist who has suc­ceeded in com­bin­ing sub­stan­tial crit­i­cal praise with wide­spread suc­cess among non-ex­perts

music with the baroque melodies of the time of Mozart or Rossini.

“I re­al­ized that many of our com­posers and per­form­ers, in or­der to fur­ther their art, em­i­grated to Rus­sia and in par­tic­u­lar Saint Peters­burg (a bit like I have done),” she said to L’espresso. “Twenty years ago, when one talked about great music, one thought above all of that from the mid-19th cen­tury on­wards. To­day, thanks in part to orig­i­nal an­tique in­stru­ments, we can fi­nally widen our hori­zons, in­clud­ing so many par­ti­tions

im­por­tant in the 17th and 18th cen­turies, from the Re­nais­sance to the Baroque.” Un­der the aegis of Decca Records, founded in Lon­don in 1929 and still ac­tive, grind­ing out new re-is­sues and emerg­ing re­leases of clas­si­cal music, she has pro­duced a prodi­gious col­lec­tion of stu­dio record­ings of op­eras, such as The Bar­ber of Seville (1989) and The Mar­riage of Fi­garo (1994) as well as var­i­ous recitals such as the Rossini Hero­ines (1992), the Mozart Por­traits (1993) and the For­bid­den Opera (2005), which sheds light on the all of the hymns and psalms pro­hib­ited and cen­sured by popes in the past, with arias by Han­del, Cal­dara and Scar­latti, or the more re­cent Maria (2007), Sacri­fi­cium (2008), and her lat­est record­ing, St. Peters­burg (2014).

This is Ce­cilia Bar­toli, the spokesper­son for the Baroque in Italy and be­yond, the win­ner of six Gramo­phone Awards and five Gram­mys, with some ten mil­lion CDS and DVDS sold, an artist who likes to travel slowly, “like once upon a time,” by boat, transat­lantic ocean liner and train, in or­der to fully en­joy that unique in­spi­ra­tion that only the con­tem­pla­tion of na­ture knows how to give.

She is an opera singer al­ways on the move, to­wards new ad­ven­tures, new re­search, new dis­cov­er­ies, new en­er­gies, so that she can best rep­re­sent her or­ches­tral spec­ta­cles, her rein­ter­pre­ta­tions, her restora­tions of “pe­riod” li­bretti, as well as the var­i­ous recitals and con­certs with­out ever suf­fer­ing from se­ri­ous phys­i­cal fa­tigue. The se­cret? Sim­ply en­joy­ing the jour­ney, trav­el­ing slowly.

“I be­lieve that by fight­ing for one’s own ideas—if one is clear on what one wants and, es­pe­cially, has strong ar­gu­ments—one can re­al­ize one’s own projects”

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