The Art of Cecilia Bartoli
provides an opportunity to look back over a decade of recordings made by one of the most popular and critically acclaimed mezzo-sopranos of our time. The 17 tracks on this smartly-packaged CD are almost exclusively in Bartoli's mother tongue, Italian, and include arias from operas by Handel, Vivaldi, Gluck, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi.
All but two pieces are taken from Bartoli's Decca discography but this is not just a "greatest hits" album--it lives up to its title and really does demonstrate the mezzo's "art". The disc opens with "Lascia ch'io pianga" from Handel's opera Rinaldo which demonstrates how Bartoli can bring the simplest of melodies to life. An extract from Vivaldi's Farnace reveals the heartstopping intensity of the Bartoli pianissimo while the Rossini arias allow the listener to revel in her glorious coloratura.
As well as the arias, there are plenty of opportunities to hear Bartoli the collaborator in duets with three fabulous partners, namely David Daniels, Bryn Terfel (including a charged rendition of the Papageno/Papagena duet from The Magic Flute) and, on two previously unreleased tracks, Luciano Pavarotti. This is a great introduction to one of the leading singers of today. --Rebecca Agnew
CD Various/Hogwood, Forck, Abbado, Chailly