A voice that rivals violin virtuosity

Edited: July 23, 2023, 7:54 AM · Here's an incredible technical performance by Cecilia Bartoli:


It's the aria, "Agitata da due venti" by Vivaldi (He must have been thinking 'violin' when he wrote it).

Replies (14)

Edited: July 23, 2023, 9:12 AM · That's impressive certainly. I didn't really enjoy it, though, if we're being honest. At least at the beginning. It did grow on me toward the end.

The biggest mystery is how her diaphragm can exert such power and control while sewn into a corseted gown. An ordinary person would explode.

There's a spot at 4:22 where she seems to have a little wry smile that says, "Those bow-shakin' fiddlers got nuthin' on me."

Seven minutes is a LONG time to do that.

July 23, 2023, 9:31 AM · Paul: Yes, yes, yes. And I think that you will find that if you listen to it a few times, you will hear (and see) more details (musically and otherwise) and your appreciation will grow. Vivaldi had to be thinking "violin" when he wrote this. I'm not sure that there is anything quite like it.
July 23, 2023, 10:28 AM · Fantastic artistry!
July 23, 2023, 10:43 AM · "He must have been thinking 'violin' when he wrote it."

No. He knew the singer and what she could do. Just like Mozart when he composed the arias for the Queen of the Night.
Edited: July 23, 2023, 12:47 PM · https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_2VS4NFAXU is a link of my favorite Bartoli Aria. Starting at 3:10 or so shows such beautiful, quiet control. I took this music in for a violin lesson on phrasing. I so wish I could control my tone a 1/10 as well as she does. Perhaps the correct statement is a violinist who rivals the human voice...??
Edited: July 23, 2023, 1:30 PM · The selection the OP posted is almost exactly the way my wife looked and sounded when a mouse ran up the inside of her pant leg. ;-)
July 24, 2023, 4:50 AM · Not my thing to be honest. Good at what she does though.
July 24, 2023, 12:56 PM · That was a breakthrough, courageous recital for Cecilia Bartoli-- All Vivaldi opera arias, at an ancient theater, with one of those historically correct string orchestras.
The huge output of Vivaldi was buried even longer and deeper than Bach's works. The concertos were revived first, then his church music. From 1713--1739 he also somehow found time to write at least 47 Operas. Only a few survived complete. A revival, new production of a Vivaldi opera is a difficult project because they have all of the problems of Baroque opera before the reforms and improvements by Gluck and Mozart: Too many solo Da Capo Arias, too much seco recitative. Too many male castrati/high range parts that need either a counter-tenor or a female "pants" role, wooden plots or unbelievable characters from antiquity or mythology, eccentric soloists taking great liberties with score. But, the excerpted arias are excellent and are getting increased performance. One could argue that the slow movements of many Vivaldi violin concertos have the character of a bel canto aria. The expected improvised coloratura performances in the da capo secions of the arias may have influenced his violin writing just as much as the reverse.
July 24, 2023, 1:21 PM · Joel: Thank you for the historical perspective. It certainly helps one gain a perspective on how and why Vivaldi would write a vocal aria like "Agitata..." He must have had access to singers who had the kind of stunning technique and musicianship that Cecilia Bartoli has. It is unfortunate that in today's world we do not have access to so much of Vivaldi's music (as well as that of other composers long gone).
Edited: August 4, 2023, 10:22 PM ·

It was interesting, a long time ago she sang at Carnage Hall at some gala performance, and Isaac Stern introduced her. I couldn't believe it, he went over the top complimenting her, exclaiming how the piece she was about to sing was HERS, and on and on.

Stern, being my violin hero, I've always been intent on his recordings, videos, shows, etc. I've never seen him be so enthusiastic about any performer, as he was about her on that evening TV show.

Edited: August 7, 2023, 5:30 PM · Neil, is https://dyinglight.fandom.com/wiki/Carnage_Hall REALLY where Isaac Stern was so nice about Cecilia Bartoli?
August 7, 2023, 8:57 PM · Virtuosity ain't always pretty!
August 7, 2023, 9:06 PM · Cecilia Bartoli,for the incredible flexibility of her voice, is a good candidate indeed!
Edited: August 8, 2023, 8:42 AM ·

I tried to follow that video; but, I don't see how it relates.

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