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Posts Tagged ‘Cecilia Bartoli’

I was going to write a review, but then I read an old one – and noticed that there is nothing to add to it. Actually, this is not true – the new program, Handel soprano arias, is far more enticing. I hold a grudge against the choice of the Philharmonie’s bigger hall for a singer incapable of really projecting into a large auditorium. I thought Ms. Bartoli were rich enough by now and could let herself make decisions like that inspired by artistic reasons (i.e., choose the Kammermusiksaal that fits her vocal means and earn a few less bucks). In any case, yes, she still can sing fast coloratura, impressively in Agilea’s M’adora l’idol mio from Teseo, when she rivaled the excellent oboist in accuracy. I was less impressed by Cleopatra’s Da tempeste. In order to adapt it into her voice, she adopted an extremely light tone that sounded rather girly than victorious.

A far more serious problem has to do with the fact that the Orchestra La Scintilla was absolutely forbidden to play anything above piano when accompanying Ms. Bartoli. The harpsichord was rarely allowed to play the continuo in the numbers in order to save her some dB. It is most commendable that La Scintilla, led by spalla Ada Pesch, was still able to keep a bright and natural tonal quality and to create animation exclusively through accent and precise articulation. The orchestral numbers – Porpora, Scarlatti and Handel – were excitingly played, with impressive solos from oboe, flute and natural trumpet. But restricted to almost silence, they could have never produced the right kind of sparkle that arias like Da tempeste or Armida’s Furie terribil require. If I have to single out a moment that showed the singer’s best quality – her emotional generosity – this was Alcina’s Ah, mio cor, when she could take refuge in her pop-like mezza voce, concentrate on the text and finally allow the orchestra to play. I must say that Ada Pesch and La Scintilla made a terrific job out of it – the various shades of desolation and despair in the aria depicted in many possibilities of accents, dynamics and coloring. In the final item (Melissa’s DesterĂ² dall’empia dite), singer, oboe and trumpet offered exciting combinations of sound in really fast tempi. Unfortunately, I could listen to only one encore, Almirena’s Bel godere, an old speciality from Bartoli.

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