Saturday, June 4, 2011

Se Tu M'Ami

Today we're sending out a Happy 45th Birthday to Cecilia Bartoli, an Italian mezzo-soprano and one of my favorite singers. (Yeah, I have a thing for mezzos.)

I have been a fan of Cecilia's since the beginning of her career. I remember when she wasn't an operatic superstar. This was back in the late '80s and early 90s. Her early recordings were of the then under appreciated works of Rossini. (It's funny, but, when Cecilia became the operatic "It Girl" in the mid 90s, Rossini's music experienced a notable revival in both recordings and live performances.)

Anyways, there is a lot to say about Cecilia. First, I delight in contrasting her image as portrayed on album covers or in her publicity photos with her image on stage. The publicity stuff depicts her as a dark, youthful Italian hottie. Well, she is dark and relatively youthful for an operatic star of her calibre. Whether or not she is a "hottie" depends on one's disposition to very prominent noses, strong eyebrows, and abundant feminine curvaceousness. ;-)

Second, I have never seen an operatic singer that makes such goofy facial expressions in performance. She's smoothed out over the years, but, when I first saw her, I was charmed by the way she would get so deep into the music that she would lose her sense of self image. This is something you see with instrumentalists all the time, but vocalists usually train away from this.

That's enough of my words, let's get to the music:

Here's Cecilia as La Cenerentola from a performance at the Met in '97. She's hit the operatic "Big League" at this point.

Here's Cecilia in recital from '91. At this point, she's still an "up-and-coming" voice.

And, finally, here is a more recent performance.

So, here are our best Birthday wishes for La Cecilia. May she bring us many more years of great performances. :-)

Here are the links for Cecilia Bartoli's Wikipedia page and official website.


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