The booklet coming with the CD says of Cecilia Bartoli that she "is justly famous for her coloratura mezzo-soprano voice and her interpretations of Rossini and Mozart." This CD features her lush voice taking on songs of three great Bel Canto composers--Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti. Some might think of these as trifles, but the singing and musicality is rich and the songs evocative. The piano accompaniment is by famed conductor James Levine, and he does a splendid job.
Some sampling of the songs. . . . The CD begins with a song by Rossini, "Aragones." This is lushly sung; Bartoli has a wondrously rich and textured voice. The pace is contemplative, altogether consistent with the words of the song, the reflection of a disappointed lover. Well done.
Donizetti's "Il barcaiolo" is also well done. Bartoli shows her vocal agility in this tune. This is a spirited song, and her coloratura technique animates her rendition. There are segments sung forte, showing the power of her voice. There is a nice soft closing to the song, so she ranges from forte to piano.
Bellini is represented, too. His "Vaga luna che inargenti" is a pleasant love song. Bartoli sings this tenderly, creating a melancholy spirit, fitting the song's words.
To close, there is Rossini's wonderful tarantella, "La danza." Levine plays at a quick pace, as he must for this spirited song. Bartoli shows great vocal agility and strong breath control (this is a tough song to get right!). A wonderfully spirited version. She even takes a pass at a trill toward the close. All in all, most satisfying.
Thus, this represents a nice CD, showing Bartoli's skills with the songs of some of the great Bel Canto composers. An album that is a lot of fun to listen to!