I have translated this interview from the Financial Times Deutschland with Cecilia Bartoli [I think. I can't find it now,] which has only a bit of repeat material from the previous translation:
Classical music star Cecilia Bartoli hates the dictates of beauty
Essen. She is so popular that she even guests on "Wetten, dass…" Now classical music star Cecilia Bartoli with her CD "Sacrificium" appreciates the suffering of the castrati and, naturally, their angelic singing. On 13 November she appeared in Cologne. Jürgen Overkott spoke with the merry Diva.
JO: You speak Spanish, French, English and German apart from your native language Italian still…
Cecilia Bartoli: … German however only in the restaurant. It is enough in order to order a menu.
JO: Her modesty honours her. And nevertheless I ask the question: Do you collect languages?
Cecilia Bartoli: No, no. I collect no language, I collect music. That is a language, which is everywhere understood. Everyone can hear music, and everyone can make music. Music is a language which goes directly in the heart.
JO: And it is the only language, which does not need words…
Cecilia Bartoli: … naturally, but music is suitable and also outstanding to strengthen the effect of poetry.
JO: You love to rediscover lost music pieces. Are you the hunter of lost treasures?
Cecilia Bartoli: Yes, actually I love to rescue musical treasures from archives. There still lie many other jewels, worth digging up. I believe that they still have a lot to say to us. But I love also the popular repertoire beyond that. You know, I admire Mozart. And if one loves Mozart, one must be occupied also with Haydn. Because Haydn affected Mozart strongly. Actually one would have to always sing pieces of both.
JO: Now you let the art of the castrati revive again. In what relationship did the singing stars of the 18th century stand to Mozart?
Cecilia Bartoli: There is a direct relationship. Mozart wrote much music for castrati, many pieces for mezzosoprano actually were for castrati. The high men’s voices were in the 18th Century very much in vogue, and even Rossini in the 19th Century still wrote for castrati.
JO: How did you discover the charm of the castrato music for yourself?
Cecilia Bartoli: That has something to do with Naples. There was there, just like in Bologna, a school for castrati, and their teacher was Porpora, a teacher and a composer. And the music of Porpora for stars such as Farinelli impressed me very much - it is music full of feeling. Porporas arias are very dramatic, very pathetic, they shimmer in many colors.
JO: Farinelli was the superstar of the castrati. He could even ensure that the depressive king of Spain felt better. Is music medicine?
Cecilia Bartoli: Oh yes! It’s good that you mention that. Farinelli could not heal the king, but nevertheless alleviated his condition. He had to sing the same six songs after midnight until in the morning around four, always. But: Farinelli became with time a trusted friend of the king and finally prime minister.
JO: But Farinelli paid a high price: He had always to sing the same pieces.
Cecilia Bartoli: (laughs) Yes, correct. That is about the same as if Elton John would have to play "Candle in The wind" for the Queen each night. Well, but Farinelli has done it nevertheless for the king…
JO: Now castrati are men, but no longer male. Doesn’t eroticism go? [Geht da nicht die Erotik flöten?]
Cecilia Bartoli: No, no. Directly with Farinelli there is an abundance of fine psychological shades, of gentle melancholy. The castrati were not men, were not women. Perhaps they were in a position to be able to mediate between the two sexes.
JO: For their heavenly voices the castrati opened the gate to hell. Is it permitted for maintenance in Top quality to pay every price?
Cecilia Bartoli: Ha! Good question! The castrati have, like the title of my album suggests, actually made a sacrifice for their art. In former times annually 4000 boys were castrated. Poor families saw therein a possibility to escape from their fate. And only two or three castrati actually made a career. But is it nowadays really different? Many artists cut away at their bodies. Think only of Michael Jackson! That was nevertheless indescribable: Finally was not his nose more genuine. We can be terrorized by the dictates of beauty.
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