CECILIA BARTOLI - ST. PETERSBURG 4787695

Accompanied by the characterful and energetic period-instrument ensemble I Barocchisti, under the direction of Diego Fasolis, she offers a selection that showcases her impeccable coloratura technique as well as her ability to spin seemingly endless legato lines in an expressive, quietly gleaming mezza voce.

With her new album "St Petersburg", Cecilia Bartoli opens a window on a hidden period of musical life in the Russian city, during which three visionary tsaritsas allowed music to thrive. Perhaps they shared a kindred spirit with Bartoli herself . . . she has become a musical phenomenon, and the way she plans her life is closer to a rock star than one of her classical colleagues . . . an album, tightly themed, imaginatively put together and stunningly packaged . . . As with all Bartoli's annual projects, there are some real discoveries on the latest album and, for me, the one composer -- hitherto unheard -- who made the greatest impression was the German-born harpsichordist Hermann Raupach . . . and he's the one who gave Bartoli her chance to sing in Russian . . . If Raupach is the major discovery on "St Petersburg", the curiosity of the project is surely a Prologue to Johann Adolf Hasse's 1735 opera "La clemenza di Tito" . . . it's heart-stoppingly beautiful and draws glorious legato singing from Bartoli.

. . . [a] lavishly produced booklet! . . . "Cecilia Bartoli -- St Petersburg" not only celebrates three great Russian rulers, but also turns the spotlight on their court composers . . . the Italian Opera Collection of the eighteenth century, a uniquely valuable archive, has been opened up to Cecilia Bartoli and I Barocchisti for this project; together they explore music lost for over 200 years. The works on this recording represent the core of an extraordinarily rich collection . . .

. . . quite stunning . . . All of these are world premiere recordings, presented to perfection, with Bartoli accompanied by the superb baroque ensemble directed by Diego Fasolis. Excellent sound, profuse program notes and complete texts. A class issue, indeed!

. . . [an] album of forgotten Russian Baroque gems . . .

. . . a disc of hitherto forgotten arias, brought to life with her own, very personal brand of star quality . . . The music includes some cherishable finds and I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis make ebullient companions . . . [Bartoli is] agile, passionate, committed.

. . . [much of the music] consistently brings pleasure. Bartoli, in superb voice, takes any number of vocal risks. Hermann Raupach's rage aria, "Razverzi pyos gortani, laja", from "Altsesta" (1758), finds her in full throttle, dangerously exposing the white center of her voice as she whips up a frenzy. Turning on a dime, she then brings some of the most gorgeous, limpid vocalism imaginable to "Idu na smert" from the same opera. Her top extension is glorious . . . , the short trills are perfect, and the long-breathed, Bellini-like lines are an example of grace through music . . . If listening to Bartoli's supreme rendition of Raupach's melodies affects you as it did me, you may find yourself giving thanks for the gift of life, allowing us to immerse ourselves in so much miraculous beauty. This being a Bartoli project, rest assured that you'll hear some great runs, beautiful head tones, and astounding technical flourishes that, in this repertoire, seem less idiosyncratic than of yore. You'll also hear, from I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis, an abundance of felicitous timbral combinations, notably in the opening to Cimarosa's "Agitata in tante pene". The contrast between the bright edge of the ensemble's period instruments and the smoothness of Bartoli's attack is a special joy. Copiously illustrated and annotated with what amounts to a history lesson on the Baroque era in Russia, this is another wonderful recording from one of the greatest singers of our or any age.

. . . [many of these rarities] are absolute delights . . . Raupach provides Bartoli, singing in Russian for the first time, with the opportunity to display her breathtaking coloratura, full of runs, trills and incredible range. But in contrast he also provides her with unaccompanied moments too where she floats up to the quietest of pianissimos. It is really quite magical . . . she clearly relishes the emotional depths and rich harmonies which many of these provide, and the two arias where she duets with solo flute and solo oboe drawn from the outstanding I Barocchisti are tender and particularly delightful. Indeed, expertly directed from the harpsichord by Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti play throughout with exquisitely shaped phrasing, and remarkable sensitiveness to both the solo voice and solos within the ensemble. They don't lack any firepower in the more energetic or majestic moments either!

. . . [Bartoli] has superb technical control, and can rattle through passagework with bravura and evenness like no other . . . She is wonderfully supported by Diego Fasolis and I Barocchisti who produce some simply brilliant playing. The many solo moments are superbly done, and all the players cope incredibly with some of the fast speeds . . . a delightful mixture of unknown music.

Ms. Bartoli¿s bravura technique remains a thing of wonder . . . the natural instrument retains its rounded, opalescent beauty, albeit with a distinctly brighter patina than in past . . . Ms. Bartoli's is an unique voice, judiciously used and splendidly maintained . . . At her wildest, there is a measured stability in Ms. Bartoli's work that contributes to both her longevity and her unwavering appeal . . . I Barocchisti and Diego Fasolis continue to refine their reputations as masters of Eighteenth-Century music . . . The instrumentalists of I Barocchisti do some of their finest recorded work, adapting with comprehensive virtuosity to the different styles of the music on "St Petersburg". Both Maestro Fasolis and the musicians are sensitive to the subtleties of Ms. Bartoli's phrasing, and their support provides a comforting foundation in passages that make the most painful demands on the singer . . . [Araia / "Vado a morir"]: Ms. Bartoli capitalizes on the pellucid setting of the text with unaffected, subtly-phrased singing. The depths of emotion are conveyed without exaggeration, and Ms. Bartoli shapes the words nobly but avoids affectation . . . [Araia / "Pastor che a notte ombrosa"]: her singing, ably complemented by Pier Luigi Fabretti's supple playing of the oboe obbligato, makes light of the formidable technical skill required by the music . . . The sprightly Marcia from "Alceste" is engagingly played by I Barocchisti and paced to perfection by Maestro Fasolis. The pair of arias from "Alceste" . . . are sung idiomatically (and with admirable command of Russian vowels), as is the impassioned "O placido il mare" from Raupach's "Siroe, rè di Persia" . . . The flute and archlute lines in the aria "De' miei figli" are beautifully played by Marco Brolli and Michele Pasotti, and the litheness of their approach is reflected in the nimbleness of Ms. Bartoli's singing . . . Ms. Bartoli brings a Medea-like intensity to her performance of the aria, and her singing heightens the effectiveness of the composers' work . . . The evenness of tone that Ms. Bartoli devotes to "Fra' lacci tu mi credi" enhances the sentimental depths of the music, and the sheer uninhibitedness of her singing of "Non turbar que' vaghi rai", in which she duets with the vivid playing of flautist Jean-Marc Goujon, is exciting . . . [Cimarosa / "Agitata in tante pene"]: The aria's clarinet obbligato is played magnificently by Corrado Giuffredi, and Cimarosa's urgent vocal lines provide Ms. Bartoli prime-grade meat into which to sink her musical teeth. She makes a banquet of the aria, her voice strong and soaring. The characteristic breathiness of her delivery conveys dramatically apt tension, and she phrases with the insightfulness of an experienced Mozartean . . . Cecilia Bartoli's singing on "St Petersburg" confirms that she remains one of today's rightful Empresses of Song.

. . . [Bartoli delivers this music] with agility and commitment . . . under Bartoli's auspices -- the lyrical melodies pliably shaped, the fierce coloratura delivered with utmost clarity and precision -- the music of such figures as Vincenzo Manfredini and Francesco Domenico Araia sounds bold and impassioned. Perhaps the most striking offering, though, are three arias on Russian texts by the German composer Hermann Raupach . . .

"St Petersburg" is a thing of beauty that collectors, as well as Bartoli fans, will want to own . . . this album showcases her probing, questing spirit and her new-found gift for operatic tragedy.

It is fascinating fare, and its resurrection of the hitherto vanished and forgotten is thoroughly warranted, especially when sung by one the great voices of the century . . . presented by a phenomenal vocalist. Bartoli, singing in Russian, is at her dazzling best in an aria from Raupach's "Hercules". Busy, energetic strings with brass fanfare punctuations form the background against which a flawless vocal line is traced, a performance that sets the pulse racing. In "El placido il mare", Bartoli's singing is the vocal equivalent of super virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz in this exultant, dramatic offering . . . Another gem is the prelude to "La clemenza di Tito" -- not the one by Mozart but Dall'oglio and Madonis. Gently reflective flute playing by Marco Brolli and Bartoli's wondrous vocal ornamentation make musical gold of this. As well, there's an upbeat, emphatically rhythmical march in which I Barocchisti ensemble comes into its own. Bartoli is joined by soprano Silvana Bazzoni and RSI radiotelevisione svizzera chorus in an . . . celebratory account of "A noi vivi, donna eccelsa" from Manfredini's Carlo Magno. DECCA is on to a winner here. It's not only the singing -- which is beyond reproach -- but the overall presentation. The liner notes are in the form of a small hardcover book with many pages of fascinating music history as well as insights into the lives of three of Russia's most formidable tsarinas. It's lavishly illustrated, too. If you purchase only one compact disc this year, then let it be this. It would make the perfect Xmas gift for anyone interested in vocal artistry at the very highest level.

Bartoli's latest exploration of the unfamiliar strikes gold again -- here she disinters some works which wonderfully suit her dramatic strengths and she delivers them brilliantly . . . There is rich music here, and dramatic too. The arias, all from opere serie, are expansive in vocal expression and orchestral colour, and crackingly good to listen to too . . . Bartoli, as ever, is in complete technical command of this music, which in places is as challenging as you'll find at this period . . . [she brings] vivid excitement to [these arias] by her tireless expressive commitment. The playing of I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis, as on last year's Steffani arias disc, is brilliant, surging, ardent. Bartoli's lavishly realised "project" albums are regular treats. Proper research and thought goes into their selection and deluxe presentation, resulting in objects to be cherished and discoveries truly worthy of the making.

. . . Bartoli is on terrific form here . . . All of Bartoli's familiar traits as a singer are here . . . Her rapid-fire coloratura is phenomenal, delivered with great technical precision . . . [breathy "pianissimos"] often colour the vocal line sensitively. She still exercises tremendous control over her trills and her dark mezzo is well suited to much of the material here. The opportunity to discover music from operas I'd never heard of . . . is well worth taking, especially when delivered with such exuberance and panache. Diego Fasolis draws vigorous, zingy playing from I Barocchisti, with a prominent role for strummed lute and theorbos. The recording . . . is bright and forward, bringing these rarities vividly to life. This is a triumph for Bartoli and a triumph for Decca, loyally supporting its super-diva in yet another fascinating project, lavishing it with a beautifully produced book, excellently documented and illustrated . . . Anyone who claims the classical music recording industry is in terminal decline needs this issue as a reality check.

There is rich music here, and dramatic too. The arias, all from "opere serie", are expansive in vocal expression and orchestral colour, and crackingly good to listen to too. Araia's "Vado a morir" has a Venetian duskiness, his "Pastor che a notte ombrosa" a placidly piping oboe encountering shivering violin figures suggestive of a palpitating heart; arias from Raupach's "Altsesta", the first-ever opera in Russian, show Classical poise as Alceste sacrifices herself, and scintillating athleticism and dash as Hercules prepares to enter Hell to a charivari of trumpets and drums such as surely no Fury could withstand; and the two arias and a chorus from Manfredini's "Carlo Magna" include one in which the eponymous Charlemagne dispenses mercy while flute notes drop as the gentle rain. The Cimarosa, from 1788 and with a clarinet obbligato, has a more High Classical combination of vocal virtuosity and lyrical grace. Bartoli, as ever, is in complete technical command of this music, which in places is as challenging as you'll find at this period. It is pleasing to hear that the machine-gun attack that she has in the past applied to passagework has been moderated into something more fluid . . . [vivid excitement brought to the arias] by her tireless expressive commitment. The playing of I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis . . . is brilliant, surging, ardent. Bartoli's lavishly realised "project" albums are regular treats. Proper research and thought goes into their selection and de luxe presentation, resulting in objects to be cherished and discoveries truly worthy of the making.

There is very important historical value in what Bartoli has brought to light here . . . I particularly enjoyed the arias from Manfredini's "Carlo Magno". "Non turbar que' vagi rai" I found particularly appealing, a beautifully flowing melody, full of expression and tenderness. The Cimarosa aria is also very appealing with lots of distinctive instrumental colour and plenty of opportunities for Bartoli to show off her technique at both its most virtuosic and expressive. Throughout the disc Bartoli demonstrates her typically chameleonic talent for bringing a huge range of moods to light in the space of one recital. She is persuasively beautiful in the slow, lilting numbers, particularly those by Araia, but exhilarating in the rapid-fire coloratura, and when she gets going there are few who beat her. She is thrilling in the aria from Raupach's "Siroe", for example, but even more impressive in the arias, like Manfredini's "Fra' lacci tu mi credi", which require a change of mood, from gentle resignation to rage, or something else along those lines . . . She uses the intensity of her voice -- something accentuated by the recording -- to striking effect, with all the zeal of an evangelist for her new discoveries . . . The orchestral sound from I Barocchisti is beautifully expressive throughout, plangent and supportive in "Vado a morir", but with thrilling passagework and storming brass in Raupach's "Razverzi pyos gortani", to give but two highly contrasting examples. The obbligato flute in "De miei Figli" and "Non turbar que' vagi rai" is expertly and very distinctively played, as is the oboe in "Pastor che a notte ombrosa" . . . This disc is highly interesting both musically and historically, and deserves to be sought out by the curious and discerning listener.

. . . ["Vado a morir" / "Razverzi pyos gortani, laya"]: These two arias show Bartoli at her best: the way that she colors her voice in the first, singing with long, musical legato, and the maniacal rage and cascades of notes in the second, are inimitable . . . And so the CD continues: of particular note are a lovely flute-and-archlute-accompanied piece by dall'Oglio and Madonis meant for an opera by Hasse, and one by Manfredini from his opera "Carlo Magno", which takes the hero through grief and fury and back again, with both exclamation and fiorature galore. The gorgeous violin and oboe obbligatos that run around Cimarosa's "Agitata in ogni pene" (with an unexpected "b" section) are seconded only by Bartoli's remarkable singing -- warm middle tones, abundant trills, and attention to every word. The CD ends with a brief chorus (!) from Carlo Magno sung with verve by the Swiss Radio-Television chorus. Diego Fasolis' I Barocchisti are at their most expressive, virtuosic, and sensitive. The packaging, as usual, is stunning . . . And Bartoli at her best, which is a lot.

. . . a stirring March from Hermann Raupach's "Altsesta" . . . a wide variety of solo arias, some slow and highly expressive, as in the examples from Francesco Domenico Araia's "La forza dell'amore e dell'odio" . . . or flamboyantly virtuosic, as in the cases of the arias from Raupach's "Herkules" or his "Siroe, re di Persia" . . . Bartoli's voice is wearing well, and she has been recorded with sensitivity . . . her technical skills are still remarkable, and in the best items her bel canto skills and refinements continue to impress. There's solid and imaginative support from the period-instrument I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis.

The most exciting music on the CD -- and Bartoli's first recordings in Russian -- is by . . . Hermann Raupach (1728-1778). The aria "Razverzi pyos gortani, laya" from the opera "Altsesta" is a tour de force for both Bartoli and the orchestra. She is all fire and fury and the trumpets cut through with coruscating abandon. I can't think of any singer today who could or would go all out the way Bartoli does. This piece depicts nearly seven minutes of unremitting madness, and the singer does whatever she has to do to convey the woman's insanity . . . The disc also includes several of Araia's operatic arias, one of which, "Pastor che a note ombrosa" from his opera "Seleuco" . . . is given an extraordinarily beautiful rendition by Bartoli and oboist Pier Luigi Fabretti. There are also delicious duets in Manfredini's "Non turbar que' vaghi rai" (voice and flute), and Cimarosa's "Agitata in tante pene" (voice and clarinet). The latter also has some surprising modulations that keep the music fresh. The period instrument ensemble I Barocchisti, directed by Diego Fasolis, performs magnificently throughout.

. . . as so often with Bartoli, the whole adds up to so much more than the sum of the objections. She is fearless in many ways here, not just in convincingly bringing home repertory her listeners will never have heard, but in blowing past classifications of vocal range: Bartoli may conventionally be seen as a mezzo, but the material here ranges from full-blown opera seria soprano almost down to contralto in a few cases, where Bartoli's voice takes on a lovely burnished tone . . . this is tremendously exciting stuff, not boring for a second.

Her voice is so rich, smooth and assured. And she sings with such subtlety. Bartoli likes unusual themes [and she has a good one here] . . . I do like the idea of hearing it, and there are some gems. An aria by Raupach has an arresting simplicity, set off by Bartoli's glimmering high notes. An aria by Dall'Oglio is also organic and lovely.

. . . the selections, mid-eighteenth-century arias in the vein of Hasse, Pergolesi and early Mozart, suit her to a tee. Languid cantabiles alternate with vigorous showpieces . . . Bartoli turns her keen musical personality to the lyrical shapes and gestures of this style, and her clean, instrumental approach is highly satisfying . . . [two arias from Manfredini's] "Carlo Magno" reveal even more of Bartoli's versatility. The heavy, tragic phrases of the minor-key "Fra' lacci tu mi credi" suddenly shift to angry triplet roulades, while "Non turbar que' vagi rai" finds her cultivating a delicate timbre to match the easy figuration and sweet high notes of the solo flute . . . Bartoli can spin a thread of sound captivatingly and seems especially inspired to sweet, rounded tones by the many expressive and beautifully shaped wind solos.

Bartoli knows her way around [the "opera seria" landscape's] various aria forms and vocal patterns as well as -- perhaps better than -- any other leading contemporary singer, and Diego Fasolis's splendid Barocchisti, once again her companion instrumentalists, support her in perfect sympathy. Several of the pieces call for eloquent wind solos twinned with the voice and each one is captivatingly played . . . Indeed, anyone with a taste for the genre, and for the "vocalità" here on display, soulfully lyrical or brilliantly ornate by turns, will gladly seize the opportunity to get to know such immediately attractive items as "Pastor che a notte ombrosa" from Araia's "Seleuco", a gentle duet for voice and solo oboe marked by both simply appealing lyricism and skilfully applied ornate tracery. Happily, the "Seleuco" aria also exemplifies Bartoli's current best form -- her uniquely vivacious ability to invigorate words and make expressive a vocal line quietly moving within a still-warmly-colourful middle register, her unfaltering gift for animating the 'small notes'. She remains as keen as ever to Deliver A Performance, and all praise for that.

Cecilia does it again! This is a really fascinating and delightful disc of music . . . played with brilliance and fire by Diego Fasolis and I Barocchisti and sung with undiminished style and beauty.

. . . [Bartoli has] ample opportunity to do what she does best: Her "fioratura" is stunning and her innate sense of legato quite impressive . . . [Bartoli, a consummate entertainer, serves the arias] up adroitly with her charm and bravura . . . soloist, orchestra, and chorus perform with much gusto . . . I Barocchisti's strings have not the slightest hint of vibrato, creating a pleasant glass harmonica effect. The other ensemble members play strictly into the center of the pitch as well, and the results are a radiant, glossy sound . . . [all parties involved] are fine, even superb musicians . . .

. . . [die glänzend disponierte Bartoli trillerte] im Terzabstand mit einer Oboe, duettierte hingebungsvoll mit einer Querflöte oder zwitscherte mit Vögeln, die über Lautsprecher eingespielt wurden, um die Wette. Das Ensemble I Barocchisti webte Klänge so zart wie Schleier: delikat, raffiniert, verführerisch, reich. Und Bandleader Diego Fasolis demonstrierte mit fantasievoller Zeichengebung, dass Beat und Swing schon vor zweieinhalb Jahrhunderten in waren. Ein Geschenk.

Cecilia Bartoli hat in St. Petersburg musikalische Schätze gehoben . . . Eine Zarin in der Welt der Opern singt Musik, die für Zarinnen komponiert wurde . . . ganz besondere musikalische Entdeckungen . . .

Cecilia Bartolis russische Lieder wärmen das Herz . . .

Die Italienerin hat eine Stimme, die man sofort erkennt und der man gerne immer wieder zuhört: Das Timbre ist warm, ihre Leidenschaft mitreißend und die leisen Momente sind voller Zärtlichkeit. Diese CD ist wie der Besuch eines guten Freundes, der von einer Reise zurückgekehrt: Vertraut, anregend und bereichernd.

Volltreffer . . . Bartoli zeigt sich in den -- einer konsistenten Spätphase des Barock entstammenden -- Arien als Virtuosa der bekannten, freudig jappsenden Art . . . "alle Neune" . . .

Ihre Stimme vergoldet sogar russische Konsonantenklumpen . . . Gleich in der ersten Arie, "Vado a morir", gibt es Gelegenheit, wieder einzutauchen in das köstliche Bartoli-Pianissimo. Keine sonst kultiviert diese Kunst, mit halber Stimme zu singen, "mezza voce", so wie sie . . . Kurz vor der Wiederholung des A-Teils, dann ein zweites Mal kurz vor Schluss, durchbricht Bartoli das gestanzte Schema und lässt zwei kurze Vokalisen aufblühen, wunderfeine, betörend bunt schillernde Fioriturenbögen. Auch in solchen Manierismen ist sie nach wie vor die Meisterin. Und die nächste Nummer bietet dann endlich Abschussrampen für ein zünftiges Bartolisches Koloraturenfeuerwerk . . . [Raupach / "Herkules"]: eine der ersten Opern, die ein russischsprachiges Libretto haben. Charmant verknödelt Bartoli alle damit verbundenen "difficulties" und gluckst und glänzt und jodelt um die Wette mit dem grobschlächtigen Naturtrompetengeschmetter, das vom Ensemble I Barocchisti unter Leitung von Diego Fasolis in kontrastscharfe Effekte überführt wird.

. . . [Cecilia Bartoli und die fulminant musizierenden "Barocchisti" unter Diego Fasolis zeigen] mit beeindruckender Ausdrucksintensität, dass es schon lange vor Glinkas "Ein Leben für den Zaren" Oper in Russland gab . . . Und "Cecilia der Großen" ist mal wieder ein Coup gelungen!

. . . der Genius Loci ist bei fast jeder auf der CD präsenten Arie auf die eine oder andere Art zu spüren.

. . . kleine Juwelen und Stimmkunststücke, die "Signora Bartoli" mit gewohnter Bravour schmettert . . .

. . . [neben ihrer Entdeckungsfreude stellt Bartoli] neuerlich ihr Gespür für Dynamik und Atmosphäre unter Beweis, wenn Raupach oder Manfredini in neuem Glanz erstrahlen, wozu natürlich auch I Barocchisti unter Diego Fasolis wesentlich beitragen. Welche Rolle die italienische Oper zur Zeit der Zarinnen Anna, Elisabeth und Katharina spielte, wird zudem im opulent gefertigten Booklet erläutert. Bartoli, das ist immer auch ein bisschen Geschichtsstunde.

Ein super Album und ein schöner Coup für die letzte Assoluta, die diesmal Trouvaillen vom Petersburger Hof eingesammelt hat. Ein musikalischer wie vokaler Hochgenuss . . . [es gibt] viel zu bewundern. Nicht nur im Hinblick auf die diesmaligen Barock-Trouvaillen. Sondern auch vokal.

Was La Bartoli auf ihrer neuen CD . . . bietet, sind durchweg hörenswerte Entdeckungen . . . Cimarosas Werk [die Arie "Agitata in tante pene"] wartet mit hinreißenden Einfällen auf: einem Echo-Orchester, zwei virtuos geführten Soloklarinetten und einem mitreißenden Gesangspart, in dem sich Cecilia Bartoli in besonders glücklicher Weise mit dem inspiriert aufspielenden Ensemble Il Barocchisti unter der Leitung von Diego Fasolis vereinigt -- ein, wenn nicht 'der' Höhepunkt des Albums. Cecilia Bartoli agiert gesanglich wie gewohnt: temperamentvoll in den Bravourarien, elegisch in vielen langsamen Stücken . . . [Bartoli tritt] als überzeugende Fürsprecherin für ein Repertoire auf, das eine nähere Beschäftigung verdient.

Cecilia Bartoli hat sich nicht nur in den Zarinnen-Look geschmissen, sondern in diesem Fundus einen bunten Strauss durchaus hochkarätiger, musikalisch reizvoller Opernarien (zwei sogar auf russisch) herausgesucht. Elf Welt-Ersteinspielungen sind so zusammen gekommen, Lamenti, aufgeladen mit Schluchzern und pathetischem Weltschmerz, virtuose Koloraturarien im Wahnsinnstempo, von der Bartoli mit ihrem typischen Furor zu explosiven Feuerwerken verdichtet . . . Wiederum lässt sie sich von Diego Fasolis und seinen "Barocchisti" begleiten, die sich vor keinen Herausforderungen in Tempo und Klangsprache zu fürchten brauchen.

[Eine der] besten Aufnahmen des Jahres 2014 . . . Die amtierende Mezzo-Königin zeigt bei ihrer weltweiten Barockarien-Schatzsuche keinerlei Ermüdungserscheinungen . . . Ein neuer Coup der entdeckungsfreudigen Virtuosa . . .

. . . [von Araia] bringt Bartoli eine mit feinen emotionalen Gesten aufwartende Klage ("Vado a morir" aus "La forza dell'amore e dell'odio") zu Gehör und operiert dabei mit eleganter Linienführung und ebenmäßigem Ton. Besonders virtuose Stücke stammen von Hermann Raupach; und da ist die Sängerin natürlich ganz in ihrem Element, sie lässt die Koloraturen in atemberaubendem Tempo -- und atemberaubend begleitet von den "Barocchisti" unter Diego Fasolis -- auf den Hörer niedergehen.

Man kann die Hingabe mit der Frau Bartoli unbekannte Schätze an die Oberfläche bringt, nur bewundern.

. . . Cecilia Bartoli fait preuve d'une maestria et d'une intelligence époustouflante. Chacun de ses CD est pensé sur une idée précise, un concept soigné et un acte réfléchi . . .

. . . un remarquable florilège d'extraits d'opéra dont la plupart est inédit.

. . . cet album au lyrisme foisonnant brosse le portrait musical d'une Russie aux richesses culturelles insoupconnées. Un vibrant hommage aux trois impératrices qui modelèrent la Russie du XVIIIe siècle: Anne Ire, Élisabeth Ire et Catherine II. . . . Jouant sur les contrastes de sa voix, Bartoli illustre avec finesse les métamorphoses que subissent les compositeurs au cours de leur séjour en Russie, tant dans leur langage harmonique que dans le caractère de leur musique. Le Napolitain Francesco Domenico Araja, notamment, en offre un parfait exemple. C'est toutefois dans les airs les plus virtuoses, notamment "l'O placido il mare", extrait de "Siroe, re di Persia", de Raupach, que les fans de la chanteuse retrouveront l'agilité et l'éclat qui leur sont familiers. Au pupitre d'I Barocchisti, Diego Fasolis, grand défenseur des causes oubliées, est bluffant d'énergie . . . Les noms familiers de Manfredini et Cimarosa traversent le disque. Mais celui-ci remet surtout à l'honneur trois compositeurs qui le méritent largement: Dall'Oglio, qui, aidé de son comparse Madonis, livre un étonnant prologue à "La Clémence de Titus" de Hasse; Araja; et surtout l'Allemand Raupach, dont "l'Altsesta" en Russe est antérieur de presque dix ans à "l'Alceste" de Gluck.

Cecilia, l'impératrice . . . Bartoli défriche le "baroque russe" . . .

Toujours la même virtuosité époustouflante, mais avec une musicalité plus intense. Charmant! . . . Ce disque donne l'occasion de découvrir de charmantes musiques dont, à l'évidence, Cecilia Bartoli a extrait les plus belles pages. Quand elle chante l'air de Minerve ("Vado a morir") de "La Forza dell'amore e dell'odio", on retrouve la soprano dans ce qu'elle interprète le mieux: les arias sur des tempos lents. Quelle douceur de voix, quelle belle expressivité, quelle diction! Avec la délicatesse d'accompagnement d'un orchestre I Barochisti très présent. Un régal.

La cantatrice y déploie un art supérieur de la modulation sur les ailes du souffle, surpassant encore en maitrise stylistique son incroyable vélocité virtuose. Chaque mot, chaque syllabe, chaque lettre parfois, se teinte dans l'intention dramatique ou l'émotion portée aux limites de l'impalpable.