Opera Proibitaby Cecilia Bartoli
One of the traits that make Cecilia Bartoli a truly essential singer -- besides her glorious voice -- is her insatiable musical curiosity. It would be easy enough for the much-loved mezzo to keep recording the standard repertoire; instead, she digs deep into the works of composers like Vivaldi, Gluck, and Salieri (the subjects of her three previous albums) to unearth unappreciated and unknown gems. Opera Proibita is her most intriguing salvage mission yet, exploring a curious chapter in opera history -- the early 18th century in Rome, when the pope banned stage performances, forcing composers to find new outlets for musical drama and virtuoso singing. Most of these wonderful arias by Handel, Scarlatti, and the lesser-known Antonio Caldara come from oratorios, in which religious stories, usually from the Bible or the Christian martyrs' lives, were told in song, minus the visual appeal of the stage. This trade-off forced music to become even more expressive and dramatic than opera, to convey the stories without acting, pageantry, or lavish sets. But all of this would just be a history lesson without an artist of Bartoli's caliber to revive the music, much of it composed for castrati rather than women, and more than half of it recorded here for the first time. This intrepid singer dazzles with her vocal agility, especially when dueling with trumpets on Scarlatti's "L'alta Roma," but she alternates these brilliant displays with the ineffably beautiful sustained melodies that were another specialty of the Baroque era. It's almost too easy for a critic to heap superlative praise on Bartoli, so suffice it to say that Opera Proibita is arguably her most flawlessly satisfying recording to date, and a must for anyone who cares about the art of singing.
- Release Date:
- Serafini al nostro canto, cantata for 3 voices & instruments: Aria della Pace. All'arme sì accesi guerrieri
- Il giardino di rose: La SS Vergine del Rosario, oratorio for soloists & orchestra: Aria della Speranza. Mentre io godo in dolce oblio
- Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, oratorio, HWV 46a: Aria della Bellezza. Un pensiero nemico di pace
- Il Trionfo della Innocenza, oratorio: Aria di Santa Eugenia. Vanne pentita a piangere
- La castità al cimento, oratorio (Il Trionfo della Castità): Aria di Flavia. Sparga il senso lascivo veleno
- Il Sedecia, re di Gerusalemme, oratorio for soloists, chorus, instruments & continuo: Aria di Ismaele. Caldo sangue
- Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, oratorio, HWV 46a: Aria del Piacere. Come nembo che fugge col vento
- Il giardino di rose: La SS Vergine del Rosario, oratorio for soloists & orchestra: Recitativo ed aria della Carità. Ecco negl'orti tu
- San Filippo Neri, oratorio for soloists, trumpet, strings, lute & continuo: Recitativo ed aria della Carità. Qui resta...L'alt
- Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, oratorio, HWV 46a: Aria del Piacere. Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa
- Il Sedecia, re di Gerusalemme, oratorio for soloists, chorus, instruments & continuo: Recitativo ed aria di Ismaele. Ahi! qual cordoglio
- Oratorio per Santa Francesca Romana: Aria di Santa Francesca. Sì piangete pupille dolen
- Il Martirio di Santa Caterina, oratorio: Recitativo ed aria dell'Impertrice Faustina. Ahi q
- La Resurrezione, oratorio, HWV 47: Aria dell'Angelo. Disserratevi, o porte d'Averno
- La Resurrezione, oratorio, HWV 47: Recitativo ed aria di Santa Maria Maddalena. Notte
Performance CreditsCecilia Bartoli Primary Artist
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There is no doubt Bartoli is extraordinary. Her precision, her supernatural control of vibrato, her tasteful ornamentated da capos... and Minkowski is not lesser. I doubt if there is a more strong and energetic way of playing for ex the 1st aria of La resurrezione. His contribution is best of the best. The problem is the repertoire, for me. At first listening all is superb but later... so many coloraturas... is like chocolate or good sex: you cant have them all the time. There are too many "battle/storm/virtuosic" arias and some of the slow ones are, on surface, very similar. The mentioned "fast" can lead to boredom after listening one after the other. The impression is that of a "too-samey" musical landscape among the fast arias. Some of them are splendid (for ex Handel's) but the artists should have included here another types of music. Listen to the Vivaldi album and you will find what I think is greater musical contrasts. If you like spending more than 30 min listening to the voice doubling violin, oboe or trumpet demisemiquavers this CD is for you, but if you want a greater sample of baroque played crisply on period instruments with this extraordinary singer, go to the Vivaldi album.
Cecilia Bartoli continues to grow as an artist and as an intelligent contributor to the realm of musically important yet neglected works. The concept of this recital - exhuming works once censored by the Church as inappropriate - include works by Handel, Scarlatti, and Caldara, some of which have made their way onto the concert stage, and some that have fallen into the cracks of the plethora of music from this period. Bartoli is here supported by the fine conducting of Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre. The songs range from the florid bravura of Scarlatti's 'Serafini al nostro canto' to the simplicity and restraint of Caldara's 'Aria di Santa Eugenia. Vanne pentita a piangere'. It is of interest to know that these arias were for the most part written for castrati rather than for the female voice and Bartoli seems to appreciate that fact in her manner of performance. This is not only an album of gorgeous singing, it is also an important recording of premieres of works that, were it not for Bartoli's insatiable curiosity and intelligence, would probably never have been available for our enjoyment. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
cecilia bartoli is special. her trills are perfect espcially on track 14. this music gives people joy. i totally recommend this cd.