Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cecilia Bartoli

I'm working on two Bollywood-related posts right now--one on the appalling Chandni Chowk To China (2009) and one on Guru Dutt--but Eye Bags' Mezzo Watch #6 on Cecilia Bartoli has derailed me for the moment.

I urge you to read, watch and savor Anik's appreciation of Cecilia; I know that I'll now be seeking out all of the earlier installments of her Mezzo Watch. For a taste of Cecilia at her most sublime, here is a video clip from her DVD Live in Italy (1998), recorded in concert at Vicenza's astounding Palladio-designed Teatro Olimpico. Here she sings Giulio Caccini's gorgeous "Amarilli, mia bella," accompanied only by lutenist Giancarlo Rado of Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca:

The words, in my halting translation: "Amarilli, lovely Amarilli / Do you doubt, my heart's sweetest desire, that I love you? / Believe me, it is true; yet should dread assail you, doubt not / Cut open my chest, and on my heart inscribed you'll see 'Amarilli, Amarilli, are my dearest love.'"

If you ever have a chance to see Cecilia Bartoli in performance, don't hesitate—hock your valuables, if necessary. It's a life-altering experience.

Update 10 September 2009: Purity McCall over at Se Vuoi Pace is celebrating her birthday with a post on Cecilia Bartoli's new website and upcoming album, Sacrificium. Happy birthday, Purity!

Update 12 September 2009: Sorry—now that I've started I can't help myself! "Gelido in ogni vena" from the opera Farnace (1727):

(Thanks to elderarce)

The words in English: "I feel my blood like ice coursing through every vein / The shade of my lifeless son afflicts me with terror / and to make my agony worse, I see that I was cruel / to an innocent soul, to my heart's beloved."


  1. She does have a lovely lovely voice :-) And a gift for comedy as well!

  2. Yes, her imitation (along with Peter Ustinov) of the halting progress of a Fiat 500 (posted on Mezzo Watch #6) had me laughing out loud.