On 19 November, Cecilia Bartoli will release an album of dramatic concert arias from the classical period. These notoriously demanding pieces were written by the greatest composers of the classical era for the leading sopranos of their day. The project has been planned for nearly a decade, with the music recorded in 2013 with the Kammerorchester Basel under Muhai Tang. The tracklist was finalized by Bartoli when the pause to her performance schedule during the pandemic allowed the singer to revisit unfinished work:
“I enjoyed being able to attend to so many things that I had left unfinished, postponed or forgotten. At last, I had the chance to rummage through my sound archives in search of hidden gems. Among the numerous long-lost friends that came to light, the recordings on this album are particularly precious to me.” – Cecilia Bartoli
With more than 12 million video and audio products sold, Cecilia Bartoli is among the most successful classical artists of our time. Having recorded exclusively on Decca Classics since 1988, Bartoli has been awarded five Grammys, more than a dozen Echos and Brit Awards, the Polar Music Prize, the Léonie-Sonning-Music Prize and the Herbert von Karajan Prize. She has performed at the world’s most prestigious concert halls, opera houses and festivals, works as artistic director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, and in January 2023 will become director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, the first woman in the history of the opera house to hold the role.
On Unreleased, Bartoli performs dramatic concert arias all written in a period of 23 years, by four composers whose influence on one another is clear, and whose compositions were shaped by the great sopranos they were written for.
Beethoven’s Ah! Perfido‚ written for the celebrated singer Josepha Duschek during the composer’s visit to Prague in 1796, may foreshadow some of the music for Beethoven’s only ever operatic heroine: Fidelio’s Leonore.
Duschek also gave the premier of Mozart’s Bella mia fiamma and was the originally intended performer of Ah, lo previdi, later performed by Aloysia Weber. Other tracks on Unreleased feature Mozart arias originally written for other great singers of the 18th century such as the castrato Tommaso Consoli who first sung Mozart’s L’amerò sarò costante (in the opera Il Pastore).
Bartoli continues her work to showcase underperformed rarities with Se mai senti. Written by the Czech composer Josef Mysliveček, the aria comes from his 1734 opera La Clemenza di Tito and was composed for Pietro Benedetti (who also premiered early Mozart operas). Mysliveček, starting life as a miller in Prague before travelling to Italy, became Europe’s most successful and best paid opera composer by the time he befriended the young Mozart.
Bartoli has previously performed Haydn’s Scena di Berenice in concert to great acclaim, with her performance at the 2001 Styriarte Festival described by Gramophone as “one of the best recorded concerts on DVD”. This is Bartoli’s first studio recording of Haydn’s demanding aria first performed by Brigida Bant in London in 1791.
Russian-born Israeli violinist, violist, and conductor Maxim Vengerov features with violin solos on two tracks: L’amerò sarò costante and Ch’io mi scordi di te?
“I would like to thank my dear colleague and friend Maxim Vengerov who has always been such a big inspiration for me and who has joined me in the recording of these two wonderful Mozart arias” - Cecilia Bartoli