Cecilia Bartoli

Artist Playlists

About Cecilia Bartoli

Opera stars who sell recordings by the million and fill concert halls twice over tend to do it with music that audiences know and love. But not Cecilia Bartoli. She boldly goes where others don’t, chasing obscure works by Salieri or Steffani with a zeal that makes her (as has been said) the Indiana Jones of the Baroque/early Classical worlds. Audiences flock because she brings this buried music back to life with an extraordinary onstage charisma. Born in 1966 in Rome, she made her professional debut there as a 20-year-old. With a razor-edge coloratura-mezzo voice ideally suited to low-flying vocal virtuosity (but also able to soar into soprano territory thanks to a three-octave range), she impressed conductors like Barenboim and Harnoncourt, who seized on her as the great new vocal talent of her time. Specializing in decorative bel canto singing of the 18th and early 19th centuries, she built her career on Handel, Mozart, and Rossini roles. But an inquiring mind and pioneering spirit then led her into the hidden corners of early music, with concept albums like Sacrificium (2009), which explores the sexually ambiguous world of the castrati who sacrificed all for music, and Maria (2007), which celebrates the legendary diva Maria Malibran. Irrepressibly, she now leads her own period band, Les Musiciens du Prince, and runs the prestigious Salzburg Whitsun Festival. But it’s the voice that counts—not massive but dynamically engaging, with a personality that fills whatever stage she’s on.

Rome, Italy
June 4, 1966

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