Cecilia Bartoli: Sacrificium

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Sun 5 Dec 3:00pm at Symphony Hall

Cecilia Bartoli mezzo soprano
Kammerorchester Basel
Julia Schröder concert master

Porpora Sinfonia from Meride e Selinunte
Porpora “Come nave” from Siface
Broschi “Chi non sente al mio dolore” from Merope
Porpora Ouverture from Germanico in Germania
Handel “Lascia la spina”, from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno
Veracini Ouverture No. 6 in G minor
Vinci “Cervo in bosco” from Medo
Leo “Qual farfalla” from Zenobia in Palmira
Araia “Cadrò, ma qual si mira” from Berenice
Porpora “Usignolo sventurato” from Siface
Graun “Misero pargoletto“from Demofoonte
A. Scarlatti Sinfonia di concerto grosso No. 5 in D minor
Caldara “Quel buon pastor” from La morte d’Abel
Porpora Ouvertures from Gedeone and Perdono, amata Nice
Vinci “Quanto invidio la sorte… Chi vive amante” from Alessandro nelle Indie
Porpora “Nobil onda” from Adelaide

Plus three encores!

‘Confirmation that Bartoli remains one of today’s greatest artists…music of exceptional beauty and passion’ BBC Music magazine on Sacrificium CD

Join Cecilia Bartoli for one of the highlights of the season: a journey through the extraordinary world of eighteenth-century castratos, whose dazzling vocal virtuosity held their contemporaries spellbound. Her latest album, Sacrificium, concentrates on the music of Nicolò Porpora, whose pupils were the most famous castratos of all time. Experience this music brought to life again, by one of today’s leading singers.

BBC Music magazine’s Editor Oliver Condy explains why he has recommended this afternoon’s concert:
“To experience Cecilia Bartoli live in concert is as much about seeing her as hearing her. Bartoli’s musicianship, sense of drama and entertainment is of a calibre matched by a tiny handful of singers today. A unique afternoon for those lucky to grab a ticket!”

1:45pm Pre-concert talk by David Owen Norris: Everything you wanted to know about the castrato but were afraid to ask.

Review by Robert J Farr, MusicWebInternational :

(but for Manchester performance):


… “This programme of a selection of the virtuosic writing for the castrati yet again allowed Miss Bartoli to illustrate her phenomenal range with open throated ease, including a perfectly controlled trill and thrilling embellishments, always at the service of the words and the varied intentions of composer’s music. Her body language, flashing eyes as well as the sheer vivacity and vitality of her singing draws in the audience and makes the totality of her performance an event to be remembered. In her second encore she sang the opening phrases on a formidably long breath that would have allowed even an average swimmer a length or two under water. It was simply another addition to her interpretative and vocal skills that few, if any, equal today.” …
 Blog post from KidsMusicCorner:
“Amazing! That’s All I Can Say.”
That’s what a 9-year old girl wrote in her diary on Sunday after going to her first ever concert of classical music.” …..
Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:
She swaggered onstage in knee-length boots, hip-hugging breeches, silk-lined cloak and tricorn hat – the epitome of a pantomime principal boy. […][…] The Kammerorchester Basel, under their exuberant leader Julia Schröder, gave splendid support both in the arias and the interspersed instrumental pieces by Porpora.[…]

[…] Bartoli’s singing, her beaming smile and showmanship reminds us that opera can be fun – her standing ovation was thoroughly deserved.”

Rating * * * *


 Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb:


… “Any reviewer of a Bartoli concert can soon run out of superlatives. It is impossible to overlook: the laughter in her voice (remember Alma Cogan from another genre?), the Technicolor range of timbre, the engagement with the words, the infectious charisma. Not only did her fans love Bartoli, but she loved them. She got a standing ovation, of course. Two hours of music from her and the supporting band was not enough for the packed Birmingham audience. With an exaggerated of swish of the red billowing skirt she was now wearing, complete with glistening gold top, she was more than happy to oblige. She had saved some of her more astonishing sounds for the encores. I wish I had had a stop watch to time one of her notes in the first; it may not have been the full minute that certain castrati were reported to achieve, but the messa di voce seemed to go on forever. For her final entry she donned two enormous red feathers that together with another tongue twister said it all. Bartoli’s The Art and Ecstasy of the Castrato was pure ecstasy.” …