Cecilia Bartoli: Antonio Vivaldi
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Cat No: 4834475
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 23rd November 2018
ArtistsCecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano)
ArtistsCecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano)
In 1999, Cecilia Bartoli unveiled her iconic ‘Vivaldi Album’. ‘The Vivaldi Album’ went gold in 6 countries and sold over 700,000 copies.
Almost 20 years later, Cecilia Bartoli returns to opera arias by the Baroque master. A selection of brand new recordings with Ensemble Matheus and Jean-Christophe Spinosi.
1Vivaldi: Argippo, RV 697 - Se lento ancora il fulmine
2Vivaldi: Vivaldi: Orlando furioso, RV 728 / Act 1 - Sol da te, mio dolce amore
3Vivaldi: Vivaldi: Orlando furioso, RV 728 / Act 2 - Ah fuggi rapido
4Vivaldi: Il Giustino, RV 717 / Act 2 - Vedro con mio diletto
5Vivaldi: La Silvia, RV 734 / Act 2 - Quell'augellin che canta
6Vivaldi: Ottone in Villa, RV 729 / Act 2 - Leggi almeno, tiranna infedele
7Vivaldi: La Verita In Cimento, RV 739 / Act 1 - Solo quella guancia bella
8Vivaldi: Andromeda Liberata (Serenata Veneziana), RV 117 - Sovvente il sole
9Vivaldi: Tito Manlio, RV 738 / Act 2 - Combatta un gentil cor
10Vivaldi: Catone in Utica, RV 705 / Act 2 - Se mai senti spirarti sul volto
For her latest album, entitled simply Cecilia Bartoli: Antonio Vivaldi, she unveils further riches from the Red Priest’s pen, some of it unknown even to scholars back in 1999, like the 1730 opera Argippo, pieced together only in 2005. The tempestuous aria ‘Se lento ancora il fulmine’ from Argippo, with its strikingly tender central section, opens the disc in blistering style, Bartoli by turns imperious and gently introspective. With a spectacularly embellished return of the main section, and outstandingly alert and stylish accompaniment from the Ensemble Matheus under Jean-Christophe Spinosi, it provides an excellent aperitif for the rest of the programme.
Here we have lovers scorned, pining, or simply revelling in the beauties of nature, the plots often incidental but the emotions extreme, and all set to music of outrageously high quality. There are fireworks, to be sure: try ‘Ah fuggi rapido’ from Orlando furioso (1714), or the dazzling ‘Combatta un gentil cor’ from Tito Manlio (1719), complete with superbly agile trumpet obligato. Here Bartoli the colarutarist is still at the peak of her game, with a richness of tone throughout her range and phenomenal breath control.
Yet the real mark of Bartoli’s artistry comes in the more reflective or picturesque numbers. ‘Solo quella guancia bella’ from La verità in cimento (1720) sparkles with a wit of which Rossini would be envious, but with unmistakable Vivaldian touches, and a delightful pizzicato bass line on the da capo; while the ritornello figure that opens ‘Leggi almeno, tiranna infedele’ from Ottone in villa (1713) anticipates Handel’s Zadok the Priest by some 14 years, introducing a performance of exquisite sweetness.
Notwithstanding the difference in font sizes on the cover, this is very much an example of musical teamwork. When Bartoli pairs up with instrumental soloists (a flute in the dreamy ‘Sol da te, mio dolce amore’ from Orlando furioso, a violin in the magically shaded ‘Sovente il sol’ from Andromeda liberata of 1726), it is on equal terms. (It’s a pity that Decca couldn’t find room at least for the soloists’ names in the generously-sized booklet.) Among the most touching numbers is the achingly beautiful ‘Vedrò con mio diletto’ from Il Giustino (1720), set over a chromatically descending bass line that may remind the listener of the ‘Crucifixus’ from Bach’s Mass in B minor. Here, as elsewhere on the disc, Bartoli’s range of vocal colouring and superb technical control are laid entirely at the service of the music, so that you’re left wondering how so much of this glorious output could have been overlooked for so long.
The answer, of course, is that it takes an artist of Bartoli’s talents and intelligence not simply to perform this music at the standard it deserves, but to grab the audience's attention and keep it. This she does fabulously once again, so that one can forgive Decca for the gushing tributes from fellow musicians that bulk out the handsome booklet (complete with many archive photos of the singer), even though there is precious little material on the music itself. There are full texts and translations, however, and the recording is exemplary. A new generation of Vivaldi converts must surely be on the way!
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