Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cecilia's Maria

It is the utter flawlessness of her sense of rhythm that contrasts her with all others. It doesn't seem to matter what the music is, it will be fascinating and completely her own. The flexibility of the phrasing here is amazing even for her.

She is my siren, and I cannot resist her call. This is the Cecilia my heart has yearned for. Her voice is now fully mature, and she uses it with astounding self-confidence, reaching every possible note, soaring and growling. There is new depth and warmth in her voice, new colors of great beauty. I think I'll just curl up and purr for a while.

I am going to attempt to review Cecilia Bartoli's new album Maria, which is possible as long as impartiality is not required. She is proposing nothing less than revolution. She is telling us that people following in the footsteps of Callas when performing bel canto are doing it wrong. She makes some good points.

This is Cecilia meeting Callas in heaven.

In the liner notes she points out that Malibran sang "Adina [L'elisir d'amore] and Leonore [Fidelio?], Amina [Bellini's La sonnambula] as well as Romeo [I Capuleti e i Montecchi?], and in the same opera, both Semiramide and Arsace [Rossini's Semiramide], Desdemona and even Otello [Rossini's Otello]." This strongly implies a different vocal technique from present day standards. The heavier the technique the more differentiated the classifications. Malibran must have used a lighter technique, a technique very much like Cecilia Bartoli's.

Cecilia is seducing us with the lightness of early instruments and the lightness of her technique to like a much more flexible and enticing style of singing. She wants nothing less than the opera world to follow her.

The phrasing is sinuous as nothing I've ever heard. Will she succeed?

There is a credit for the yodeling teacher, Nadia Raess.

There is also a very nice photo of Cecilia and Christopher Raeburn together honoring his 50th year with Decca. I would guess it was probably him she did it for. I'll take it anyway.

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