Explorer and Independent Biologist

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Cecilia Bartoli

Thanks to a very generous birthday present from my dear sister I saw my favourite mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli singing in concert in the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, on 3rd December. She was accompanied by the Basel Chamber Orchestra.

The circle foyer of the modern Bridgewater Hall in Manchester

In addition to performing in "conventional" opera,  Cecila Bartoli has devoted her career to exploring and performing the works of lesser-known and forgotten composers. For example, in the last concert that I attended she sang some compositions of Antonio Salieri that may not have been publicly heard for 200 years.

Currently, Cecilia Bartoli is performing the music of a number of compositions  for the voices of the castrati in a programme called Sacrificium, a word that reflects the sacrifice of some 4000 boys that used to be mutilated in Italy every year during the 1770s onwards.

"Due to their superhuman physical nature, their unusually thorough training and their immense talent, you might say that what these singers sang was probably some of the best music written at the time. Since it stretches the limits of your own abilities it bis also a great personal challenge for a modern interpreter - especially a woman". Cecilia Bartoli

Cecilia Bartoli sings to the accompaniment of the 
Basel Chamber Orchestra (leader Jülia Schröder)

Trio Concerto for mezzo-soprano and two flutes

Cecilia Bartoli sings a flamboyant encore

Cecilia Bartoli had her devoted audience in tears with her 
sensitive rendering of Handel's Lascia la spina

Leave the thorn, Pluck the rose;
You are seeking your own sorrow.
An unseen hand will bring you
Hoary old age
Ere your heart imagines.


  1. Boy, what a splendid birthday present.
    That must have been thrilling.
    I can appreciate good art, even though my tastes are different.
    I do like Handel though. Especially: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS3vpAWW2Zc&feature=related

  2. she has an incredible talent. The only thing I find difficult is her facial expressions which are always flamboyant

  3. We saw he in Vienna last year. Not my cup of tea but a wonderful experience.

  4. Thanks for comments!

    Don, yes, the concert ticket was a wonderful gift :-)

  5. I don't know what to think of that costume she's wearing! It certainly catches the eye. But that aside, what a wonderful gift...her voice is amazing.

  6. Glad you enjoyed the present. You wait to see what you have for Christmas!
    In one of the photos she looked like the 'principal boy' in a pantomime!