"I was amazed with this album of super fine music. I had known all my life that Vivaldi wrote tons of operas, but finding them, or the scores of them, was nearly impossible. In time I found a few, and was I ever amazed and disappointed. The published scores that were available were what was common practice of that time: there were the vocal lines and a figured bass and nothing more. There were no indications of orchestration. Even with that little bit, I was shocked with the intensity and complexity of this vocal writing. This man knew how to write for the voice. Until singers are willing to research his works, we, the public, will know him for a very orchestra suites and nothing more. The result will be a very stilted view of what the man had to offer. Now getting to the performance by Bartoli. She really loves this music, as you can tell. Yes, she is mannered in some of the things she does, but that is her way of seeing the music. Her technical skills are amazing, and her interpretations (the "drama" behind the music) is just as intense. Some think Bartoli has a strong voice. Actually, her voice is very small, if you have heard her in performance (they weren't even sure she would be heard when she sang at the Met), and it has a very delicate quality, even when being "brash." Recordings give you the impression she has a much larger sound than she does, but that is because small voices record truer and better than large ones (the industry still can't capture large voices at all). However, even with a small voice, in performance she is breathtaking. She makes the music live. She has weird mannerisms one sees that to American trained singers are completely unacceptable (weird facial expressions, strange things done with he mouth and teeth, head bobbing, etc), but that has never distracted from her overall intensity. Yes, she is intense. You are literally taken away with her interpretation, and her skills. Interestingly, she is more famous in music circles for her cancelations (she cancels more performances in a year than she actually sings). I love this recording, not only because of the music, but because I have seen her sing some of this music live. She really LIVES what she sings, and that comes across in this recording. A special note: in the little booklet that comes with the recording, Bartoli herself writes her impressions of this music. It is extremely insightful. Whether you like her or not, you have to admire the work she has done to make this music live and be as authentic in interpretation as she can. It is her love of this music that has caused her to record this album. I am thankful she did, for now, I can take those old scores I have and get a better understanding of what the composer was doing. Would that more singers would explore new/old works, and I think it would be far more interesting to have them write their impressions of the music they are singing than the standard academic essays we must read. Reading about how she came to this music, in her own words, gave a different dimension to listening. Now I was listening to see if she was successful in communicating what she felt this music had to offer. SHE WAS."
Cecilia and Vivaldi
stardustraven | Europe | 08/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since I prefer music which was composed before 1750, I was very glad with the purchase of Cecilia Bartoli's Vivaldi album. Although this disc is definitely an interesting and wonderful recording, it's not without its flaws. Cecilia Bartoli presents here to the listener a compilation of Vivaldi's neglected opera arias. Ms. Bartoli's treatment of these arias [which she has researched herself] is certainly fresh and appealing. For the singer and her listener this music is certainly demanding. The music requires of Cecilia Bartoli to go from rapid fire passionate outbursts to tender pianissimo's.
The listener should further take into account that the composers of the Baroque period were certainly not above re-using music scores. This disc provides the listener with two clear examples of such practices. In the first aria 'Dell'aura al sussurrar' we hear the beginning of the 'Spring' concerto of 'The Four Seasons' and in 'Gelido in ogna vena', music from 'The Winter' was used. Cecilia Bartoli's interpretation of these pieces is heartfelt, passionate, intense and tender [she's certainly well-matched with Vivaldi's acrobatics]. But sometimes as in the second aria 'Dopo un'orrida procella' the fireworks of Vivaldi leave her a bit hoarse and out of breath. Il Giardino Armonico conducted by Giovanni Antonini lend her an excellent and spirited support. Furthermore she is joined in the first aria by the Arnold Schoenberg Choir.
However, this is a great disc and some of my favourites here are: 'Dopo un'orrida procella', her tender and wonderful rendition of 'Zeffiretti che sussurate' with beautiful echo effects (which were often used for Baroque music), 'Gelido in ogni vena', the storm aria 'Anch'il mar par che sommerga' or the martial aria 'Di trombe guerriere'. The accompanying booklet contains information about Vivaldi, Cecilia Bartoli, Il Giardino Armonico and provides the lyrics with translations.
Definitely a disc by Cecilia to own.
Pure and hot-blooded Italian beauty and joy!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The ensemble is Italian, the singer Italian, and the composer Italian! What a blessing this CD is! It's so purely and perfectly Italian. The most important thing, however, is that the singer, the ensemble, and the composer Vivaldi are totally in one in their temperament, spirit, and style. Bartoli is known for her intensity, fantasy, imagination, virtuosity, total sense of joy, and directness. So is the beautiful and exciting ensemble! Vivaldi, too, is made of these attributes, both in his virtuosic violin performance and in his music.In this recording, composer and performers are in one. The execution is beyond mere perfection. The performance is inspired, the music relived, and it opens the world of early 18th century Venice in front of our eyes!The best entertainment you'll have! The more you listen to it, the more beautiful, magical, awe-inspiring it becomes and the more you'll wonder! Personally I think the 6th track is the most beautiful, sensuous and the most Vivaldian. Its dark, exotic , and mesmerizing harmonies and melodic turns are beyond description. That's something only Vivaldi could do and something that can only be found in his music.The 2nd track, is great fun. The vocal writing is so delightful and exciting! The last track is very crowd-pleasing and I love it! In this martial aria, we can almost hear the cheer of the audience when the singer finishes that sensational trill! It makes the audience crazy!This is definitely one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) recording of Vivaldi's music. If this CD cannot make people interested in Vivaldi, nothing will."
Truly Deserving Grammy Winner
Tom Williams | Redondo Beach, Ca. | 02/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like all Bartoli fans, I was ready for some fairly remarkable things when first informed, more than two years ago, that the "Vivaldi" project was in the works. Cecilia's inspired treatment of "Agitata da due venti" on the "Live in Italy" album. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the journey in store on this CD. The familiarity, (thematically, at least) with the opening number,"Dell aura al sussurrar" only begins to open the door to vistas even dedicated Vivaldi lovers had never seen. Proceeding through the set, which, by the way, includes no fewer than SIX world premiere recordings, Cecilia stuns with the rapid-fire coloratura of "Sventurata navicella" and "Anch il par mar sommerga", brings her luscious, focused sound to "Zeffiretti che sussurate" and "Dite oime", and in between, brings to life songs which, while never achieving the poetic heights of those by some other composers, nonetheless provide a musical challenge which only a singer of Bartoli's particular talents (or perhaps someone like Natalie Dessay?) could surmount. Having had the good fortune to see her do most of this set live in Boston in October,2000, I find the comparisons between the live recital performance and this ablum inevitable but the recording, benefiting from the virtuosity of the musicians of Il Gardino Armonico, is more satisfying sonically. No one can match Cecilia Bartoli for sheer excitement on stage, her charisma is unmatched, but this CD is as close as one can get to actually being there for one of the most exciting performances in recent memory."
An Absolute "MUST HAVE" !
stardustraven | 05/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is an absolute revelation and demonstrate that Vivaldi was one of the greatest opera composer of his time. One needed an artist of the caliber of Cecilia Bartoli to show us the incredible variety of moods,colors and expressions displayed in this music as well as the amazing technical abilities required to master the difficulties of some of these extremely demanding arias. When you hear the track 2 or the magical track 9 it makes us long to hear more from these virtually unknown operas;in track 12 you can also see where Haendel started from. I do hope this album will lead the way and trigger a gold rush towards a full revival of this amazing side of Vivaldi's opus : When one thinks that he composed about 92 operas in his lifetime it is difficult to believe that we still know so little about them today.Let's thank Cecilia for opening the door of this fantastic treasure trove !"