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Cecilia Bartoli - Gluck Italian Arias ~ Dreams & Fables
List Price: $17.98

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Product Description

On this recording of eight unfamiliar arias by Gluck, Cecilia Bartoli once again demonstrates her peerless vocalism and communicative power. Using texts by Pietro Metastasio, the leading librettist of his day, from whose poetry the disc's title is taken, Gluck composed music of heartwarming and heartbreaking beauty. The arias encompass an infinite variety of style, mood, character, and expression, and Bartoli's mastery of them is complete. The sheer beauty of her voice and her consummately effortless coloratura are unique: endless cascading runs, ranging from below the staff to high D's and E-flat's, flow out flawlessly placed and articulated, like strings of perfect, shining pearls. But what makes her singing so fascinating and unforgettable is Bartoli's ability to color and change her voice to fit the music, going in an instant from lighthearted parody to tempestuous fury, half-mad desperation, and lamentatious pleading. Equally captivating is her ability to create real characters by purely vocal means. The pyrotechnics are stunning, the fiery outbursts thrilling, but it is the slow, lyrical, inward arias that are most moving and memorable. She can spin out a long melody like a golden thread, with a focused, centered sound and a concentrated intensity of expression that cast an irresistible spell over ear and heart. Most of these arias are in da capo form, but she ornaments the repeats freely and imaginatively without becoming excessive. The Berlin Academy for Ancient Music, playing on period instruments tuned to a low A, supports her with a wonderfully clear, transparent sound and great stylistic empathy. --Edith Eisler

Customer Reviews:

  • Cecilia
    She is a light,high mezzo-soprano, so it sounds like she's a soprano. I fell in love with the second aria. I could play it over and over again, and the baroque music is very beautiful....more info
  • A good follow up to the Vivaldi album
    How do you sell a CD of greatest hits by a Mezzo? Well it could be difficult as if you get them to sing the same old classics then everyone might have those songs and might not buy it.

    One thing you can do is to record older material which do not form part of the conventional repatoire which might be attractive. You can market it by putting it out in a booklet like CD which is run as a concept.

    This is what has happened with Cecilia with first her Vivaldi CD and now with her rendition of Gluck arias. In fact the CD is great. The arias are all treasures and her rendition of them is great. I think that I am enjoying it a bit more than the previous CD....more info

  • The Glories of Gluck and Bartoldi
    I have watched with dismay the shrinking of the sphere of classical music. First it was the loss of WFLN, Philadelphia's classical music station. It is hard to imagine a major city with no full-time classical music radio station, but... welcome to Philadelphia. Having moved to Paris, I am surrounded by a wealth of classical music; reasonably priced concerts in many churches, featuring vocal and orchestral and instrumental works of an infinite variety. There are several classical radio stations.

    However, the signs of shrinkage are appearing here as well. I have watched the large classical area of the Virgin Megastore on the Champs Elys¨¦es shrink multiple times. There is no longer a separate room, and the range of choices has been radically reduced. Their store in the Carrousel du Louvre still features a reasonable selection, and it is there that I found this CD yesterday.

    OK, off my soap box. This CD is a delight for me. Discovering "lost" works such as these is one thing that keeps classical music alive. These elegant, stirring works of Gluck will transport you back to the glory and power of the 18th century. The glorious voice of Cecelia Bartoli suits these works perfectly. This is music that will transport you, lift you, embrace you, transform you. It is heavenly music that warms the soul.

    I highly recommend this CD. The packaging is outstanding, with informative and well-written liner notes. If you want a brief escape from the hassles of modern life, or if you simply want to swim of the glory of sublime music in the hands of a superb artist, this CD will serve you well....more info

  • Cecilia Champions Gluck
    I once overheard two ladies calling the music of composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) dull and slimy. In my opinion those ladies were unfair to the composer, but they were entitled to their opinions. This superb and exciting disc shows that Gluck was far from dull or slimy and he found a most worthy champion in Cecilia Bartoli. Gluck's position in the history of music is an uneasy one. As for in his music still sounds the Baroque but it already heralds the Classical period, thus setting the stage for Haydn and Mozart. On this disc Cecilia Bartoli dusts off several (lesser known) opera arias by Gluck and in her hands these sound fresh and new. This disc features eight arias which were taken from 'La Clemenza di Tito', 'Il Parnasso Confusso', 'Ezio', 'La Semiramide' Riconosciuta', 'La Corona' and 'Antigono' all set to libretti by Pietro Metastasio. Ms. Bartoli is accompanied by the Akademie fuer Alte Musik, Berlin conducted by Bernhard Forck. The gorgeous booklet contains information on the composer, Cecilia Bartoli, the Akademie fuer Alte Musik, Berlin and the texts and translations.

    Cecilia Bartoli's superb performance of these eight arias takes the listener on a roller coaster of joy, grief, passion and heartbreak. Her dedication to this music and her capability to submerge herself completely in it, provides the listener with a riveting and powerful disc. As she does this wonderful music, the expressive and passionate texts by Metastasio [which concern Mythology or Antiquity] fully justice. Cecilia Bartoli shows the full range of her emotions going from rage to reflectiveness or to tenderness and grief. Her beautiful, warm and low voice captures these emotions all perfectly and every nuance and colour is brought out. The two faces of Gluck (Baroque/Classical) or rather his duality can be observed in the first and sixth arias with their whirlwind of emotions and magnificent trumpet parts. The Akademie fuer Alte Musik, Berlin gives a splendid and alert support to Cecilia Bartoli. Although this is a magnificent disc, I especially loved the three arias which were taken from 'La Clemenza di Tito'. Gluck found in Cecilia Bartoli a staunch and excellent champion and I will always cherish this disc....more info

  • Just Splendid - Bravo!!
    Now i don't own too many of Ms Bartoli's albums (including this one only 2). In fact i don't own too many opera albums at all. I am only just getting into this genre. So i don't know anything about operatic technique or style or for that matter what is technically meant by the terms soprana or mezzo etc. (I guess i could do some googling on the subject). So this is not a review about any of this.

    This is simply a review about the music & what i hear when i listen to this CD. It is hard not to be "captured" by her voice. I was glued to this CD when i first listened to it & in subsequent listenings i still find myself turning up the volume. The production & quality of the sound on this CD is first class imho. When i listen to Bartoli on this album her voice reminds me just what a remarkable instrument the voice is - especially when played as beautifully as Cecilia Bartoli. Tacks 2,4 & 7 have even been awarded a 5Star rating on my iTunes & i don't give 5 stars easily. Simply splendid music. Enjoy...more info
  • An informed performance of rare works that really shines
    I think this is the best singing by Bartoli that I've heard since she recorded Idomeneo with Placido Domingo in the early 90's. It is historically informed and well played by the orchestra. The arias are rare gems that sparkle and are moving.

    It is definitely a must have for all fans of Bartoli along, and not just the early-music crowd but all lovers of classical music.

    Bravo!...more info
  • Think twice before buying it
    I used to give Ms Bartoli infinite credit, so I bought this Gluck album without much hesitation. Yet the dissapointment it brought was double: i) the passion of Ms Bartoli's interpretation overflows too often at the wrong place and ii) this selection of pieces proves that Gluck was not always inspired enough to hit the good string, having also produced dull, insipid musak. I think the composer has to bear most of the responsibility for this failed project. 3 stars for Ms Bartoli alone....more info