Sunday, March 23, 2014

For Charlotte

[This is the interview from Charlotte mentioned in her comment.  Evangelisch means protestant.]

"You have to do everything with passion - singing and cooking Minestrone"

When Cecilia Bartoli sings, you sometimes have the feeling that God is with her - in his female form. Cecilia Bartoli, who was born in Rome in 1966, is one of the most famous opera singers of the world. She sings roles for mezzo-soprano, particularly in Mozart and Handel operas, and has lately preferred lesser-known works from the 18th Century. Recently she released her CD "Mission" with songs by the baroque composer Agostino Steffani. With these songs she is giving at the beginning of June five concerts in Germany. Cecilia Bartoli lives in Switzerland.

In which moments do you feel alive? 
Music is full of feelings. I need to experience those feelings in order to inform the public. However, not too intensely, then the voice suffers, I need a certain distance. A wonderful discovery was Agostino Steffani, a composer and a Catholic theologian of the 17th and 18th Centuries. His music puts me in a delirious state. It is spiritual, but it also has something dark. When I sing his works, it is as if I were flying.  For moments one of Steffani's songs free one from the pain that sometimes depresses one.  Such music sometimes you need in order to live.

What can adults learn from children?
Through them you can learn what is important. The older I get the stronger my need to express myself is reduced to the essentials. I need actually only a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Why still a car? Also an iPod? Another television? Actually I do not need all that. This of course contradicts the stereotype:  A diva has to need on her travels five cases and one to two chauffeurs. But what is much more important are good relationships with other people, and children also teach you this.

Which God do you believe in? 
I believe in a God who created Mozart, Caravaggio, Handel and Vivaldi! God has sent us these artists to make life more bearable. When I sing, I sometimes have the feeling that God is with me in his female form. God is for me both: man and woman, Papa and Mama - Pama so to speak. Occasionally, I pray, and then mostly for the people I love.  But only occasionally. Among Catholics a prayer is indeed spoken for every little thing. I do not want this. If I really mean to disturb God, then it shall be for something important.

What does home mean to you?
I travel a lot and am rarely home. My homeland is therefore the people I love, whom I trust - and the people who love me. I can take on the world, even in the most terrible places everywhere. When I am with them, I'm at home, they are my home.

Does life have a meaning? 
Yes ! I come from a very humble family: My parents were both opera singers, but my grandparents were farmers.  Every summer I went to them. One of my grandmothers had in her garden wonderful, fantastic beans. Out of them she cooked the best minestrone that I have ever eaten in my life. This grandmother accompanied me when I sang for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera. After the concert we went to a dinner which a sponsor had organized, where delicacies were presented.   Back in Italy my grandmother was uncomfortable to cook her minestrone for me, she said: "In New York I understood how you live now." I answered her, "My dear, what are you saying? Your beans and your minestrone are a thousand times dearer to me than such a dinner. When I visit you, and you give me no minestrone - that would be terrible." Good ingredients are important, simple ingredients, but the most important is the passion! You have to try to seize the day with passion:   sing with passion, cook, be connected to other people.

Do you fear death? 
No! Far more terrible is a dull life without feelings. I do not know if I'm brave, but I love the idea of being brave and reaching out without fear to other people. Simply to take another's hand and to go a small way with him and to open myself to him.

What dream do you still want necessarily to fulfill? 
Every day to be ready to learn and grow. But never to be too tired, that's my dream! Sometimes I sing something - for example by Mozart - that I know inside and out. But then I work together with a new conductor, and he says to me: "Cecilia, you could sing this a little bit differently, what do you think?" And I think: Yes, of course! I want to preserve my ability to be amazed.

[This is also for me.  She is still the only famous person I ever wanted to meet.  I no longer wonder why this would be.]


Charlotte said...

Oh, I have found it only now! Thanks for translating, this is a really nice one, isn't it?

Dr.B said...

These two interviews together are the most personal I have read from her.

Dr.B said...

My father's parents were also farmers, and we stayed with them sometimes in the summer, so I loved reading about that.