August 11, 2020

Cecilia Bartoli, an opera director with all the beard


Mezzo prepares to take the reins of the Monte Carlo Opera, a recent appointment that makes history, as it will be the first time a woman is in charge of the institution

He dares with everything, as long as the vocal cords allow it. This has been an unforgettable year for Cecilia Bartoli, who today offers a concert at the Philharmonic in Paris to present her new album, "Farinelli", and is preparing to take the reins of the Monte Carlo Opera, a recent appointment that makes history, as it will be the first time a woman is in charge of the institution and the second in which, in addition, the maximum responsibility falls on a singer. A double triumph that has just been announced, although it will have until 2023 to prepare the ground and programming.

Bartoli is a piece of artist, an optimistic woman who loves to cook pasta, character, and who likes not to go unnoticed. At the Salzburg Festival in 2017, he already surprised himself by getting into the skin of the gentleman «Ariodante» as conceived by Haydn. There already looked a leafy beard. Not content with it, in the album dedicated to the one known as «divine castrato» returns to a similar «look».

In fact, in some of the promotional images it is difficult to recognize and bet because it is a woman. No, it's not Conchita Wurst, the winner of the 2014 Eurovision Festival; Neither does the actor Russell Brand, with long hair. It is the mezzo that confesses that, despite taking thirty years up and down the stage, fear accompanies it. The same one that had to choose between training the voice, which already pointed ways, or deciding on flamenco, which passionate her. They won the vocal cords.

This work is a tribute to all those men who were mutilated to keep an acute bell, an aberrant practice that starts in the seventeenth century and it lasts until the mid-nineteenth century and at its peak it managed to castrate up to 4,000 children a year. His concern for the study of voices does not give him respite. In «Mission», dedicated to following the track of the composer Agostino Steffani, he showed himself on the cover of the disc with his head completely shaved.

Or that other one, "Sacrificium," in which I was experiencing a process of "marmorization." Each cover of his work is a surprise: A nod to the transsexual collective, a mere amusement or a full-fledged marketing campaign? Maybe it's a bit of everything. What is clear is that the goal, that one looks at the disk, is achieved.

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