Cecilia Bartoli

Italian lyrical singer (Rome, 1966)

Cecilia Bartoli is one of the most famous mezzo-sopranos in the world. Her vocal performances and her unique charisma on stage move a large audience often exceeding the traditional circle of classical music lovers.

With two lyrical artists as parents, Cecilia Bartoli grew up surrounded by classical music. She appeared on stage for the first time at the age of nine and her parents decided that she would be joining the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. Alongside this classical education, she fell in love with flamenco at the age of fourteen and took dance lessons for two years. That work on physical flexibility would be decisive for her stage performances. In 1987, she was seen on stage at the Opera de Paris where a night commemorating the Maria Callas’s death 10 year anniversary was being held. That night was the starting point of her swift career. Noticed by Herbert von Karajan and Daniel Barenboim, she then sang on the most prestigious lyrical stages in the world: Pesaro, San Carlo in Naples, Opéra-Bastille de Paris, Scala in Milan, Salzburg Festival, excelling the most when she embodied Rossini’s characters. After that, she focused on Mozartian roles and engaged in Nikolaus Harnoncourt production of his trilogy “Da Ponte”. In 1996 she made her debut at the Metropolitan and sang for the occasion Despina in Così Fan Tutte. The following year, she played Rossini’s Cenerentola. In 2008, she toured in tribute to the Spanish opera singer Maria Malibran (1808-1836).

In the 2000’s Cecilia Bartoli worked more and more with orchestras that play ancient instruments: the Akademie für Alte Musik of Berlin, les Arts Florissants, the Concentus Musicus of Vienna, the Freiburger Barockorchester, the Giardino Armonico, the Kammerorchester of Basel, les Musiciens du Louvre, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Signed with the label Decca she built for herself an very impressive discography staying very selective in her choices. In parallel to operas or recitals dedicated to the great repertoire, she recorded original creations and offered a new life to little known pieces or composers: Agostino Steffani Stabat mater, Giuseppe Persani, Nicola Porpora. In 2012, she was chosen to be the new artistic director for the The Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

Six landmark dates in the life of Cecilia Bartoli

1987: Show commemorating Maria Callas’s 10 year anniversary death at the Opéra de Bastille
1996: debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in New York
1999: release of Vivaldi album (Decca)
2008: tribute to Maria Malibran, giving three concerts in the same day
2009: release of Sacrificium, l’école des castrats (Decca)
2013: release of Agostino Steffani Stabat mater (Decca)

Official website

Radio France Documentation biography, April 2014.