the Cecilia Bartoli programme here [pdf format]


the Cecilia Bartoli programme here [pdf format]
Wednesday 19 & Friday 21 December 2007 at 7.30pm
Maria Malibran –
The Romantic Revolution
Cecilia Bartoli mezzo-soprano
Orchestra La Scintilla Zürich
Overture from La figlia dell’aria
‘E non lo vedo… Son regina’, recitative and aria of Semiramide from La figlia dell’aria
‘Cari giorni’, introduction and romanza of Ines from Ines de Castro
Mendelssohn Scherzo in G minor from the Octet Op. 20 (orchestral version by the composer)
‘Infelice’, scene and aria for voice, violin solo and orchestra, London version
Tempest from Il barbiere di Siviglia
‘Nacqui all’affanno… non più mesta’, scene and rondo of Angelina from
La Cenerentola 9’30”
Andante sostenuto from Concertino for clarinet in B flat
‘Assisa al piè d’un salice – Deh calma’, Willow Song and Prayer of
Desdemona from Otello 8’30”
Overture from Il Signor Bruschino
‘Yon moon o’er the mountains’, ballad of Isoline from The Maid of Artois
Air à la Tyrolienne avec variations
Andante tranquillo from Violin Concerto No.7, Op.76 in G
‘Ah, non credea mirarti ... Ah, non giunge’, aria and cabaletta of Amina from
La sonnambula 10’
There is one interval of 20 minutes in this performance.
This concert will end at approximately 9.30pm.
Barbican Hall
The Barbican is
provided by the
City of London
Maria Malibran as Amina in La sonnambula, drawn by Bouvier, from an original sketch
reproduced courtesy of Anthony Gasson
Recreating a Legendary Voice
... in short, it’s only here [in Paris]
that one can understand what
singing really is. Today it is
definitely not la Pasta but la
Malibran who is the queen of
Europe – what a marvel! Valentin
Radziwill worships her, and more
than once we thought how much
you would admire her!
Frédéric Chopin to Joseph Elsner, Paris 1831
Today, the best way to appreciate Maria Malibran’s
unique voice is to look at the music that was composed
for her. The scores reveal a voice with a range of nearly
three octaves (from the E below middle C to high C) that
seems to have been more distinctive in the extreme
registers than in the middle. An abundance of virtuosic
coloratura writing and significant leaps suggest that she
had exceptional flexibility and perfect breath control.
The many press reviews and contemporary accounts
provide an idea of her timbre. Although her voice
remained steady into the very highest register, it was
generally described as velvety, dark and soft-grained.
Indeed, when not listed as ‘prima donna’, Malibran was
labelled a contralto rather than a soprano. Today she
would undoubtedly be considered a mezzo.
Despite a brief career that lasted just over ten years,
Malibran’s talents enabled her to sing an exceptionally
wide repertoire: from Baroque via Mozart to Rossini, but
also the contemporary music of Donizetti and,
particularly, Bellini. Numerous works were composed for
and first performed by her, although hardly any are still
known today.
Apart from the dizzying vocal and thespian qualities of
the phenomenon that was Maria Malibran, what
particularly fascinates Cecilia Bartoli is the idea of
reconstructing the authentic sound of the singing of the
time, which has since been lost. This requires not only an
attempt to determine the nature of the voice and vocal
production but also a study of the original musical texts,
instrumentation and the concert pitch of the time.
Genius, Scandal and Death
Maria – Singer and Diva
Ah! That wonderful creature! With
her disconcerting musical genius
she surpassed all who sought to
emulate her, and with her superior
mind, her breadth of knowledge
and unimaginable fieriness of
temperament she outshone all
other women I have known. Her
wide command of languages
enabled her to sing in Spanish (her
native tongue), in Italian, in French
and in German; and, after a week’s
study, she performed Fidelio in
English in London. She drew,
painted, embroidered and
sometimes created her own
costumes; above all, she wrote. Her
letters are masterpieces of fluent
wit, verve and good humour,
overflowing with an unparalleled
originality of expression.
Gioachino Rossini
What was Maria Malibran, scion of the illustrious García
family, really like? The archetypal Romantic woman, she
was brilliant, possessed of the most exceptional and
varied talents, generous, sentimental and tragic, devoted,
ardent and passionate, indomitable, insouciant yet
earnest, emancipated and independent ... in a word:
modern. Yet she was also proud, obstinate and
foolhardy; a woman whose flamboyant character
compelled her to subordinate everything to her
unbending will and to what she regarded as her
personal freedom.
Wherever the young Spanish woman with the svelte
figure, big eyes and long dark hair appeared, she
created an atmosphere and an outburst of emotion that
plunged the cultivated society of Europe and America
into an unprecedented frenzy. With her enthralling
vocalism, her open-mindedness and her wholly
unconventional lifestyle, this young ‘gypsy’ – the daughter
of a renowned Andalusian musician and archetypal
Romantic artist – transformed not only the aesthetics of
singing and acting, but also the attitude of society
towards artists in general. For the first time a woman – a
musician at that – left her mark on the world of art, on
everyday life and on the attitudes of her contemporaries,
with far-reaching consequences for succeeding
generations. She became the first diva in theatre history;
the first goddess of Romanticism.
However, any attempt to pin down this extraordinary
woman and her artistic legacy must be based on a
thorough study of the period and most importantly –
because she was first and foremost an unrivalled singer –
on an investigation of her vocalism, the instruments and
the timbres favoured in the early decades of the
nineteenth century.
Maria Felicia García was born into a remarkable
musical family on 24 March 1808 in Paris. Her father was
the famous Andalusian tenor, composer and singing
teacher Manuel del Pópolo Vicente García and her
mother was the soprano Joaquina Sitches (Briones).
Maria’s older brother Manuel was a baritone and is still
known today for his seminal treatise on singing. Her
much younger sister Pauline Viardot-García was also a
singer, composer and patron of the arts.
her life – following the Rome Barber premiere – in an
historic musical event: with support from Lorenzo da
Ponte, then living in New York, the Garcías staged the
first American production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni,
with Maria as a delightful Zerlina. It was not long before
she was making a similarly strong impression in other
parts, including two operas composed specially for her
by her father. Soon Maria was the first star of the nascent
American music scene.
As a sought-after tenor, García père travelled with his
wife and children from one musical capital to another.
Young Maria was only four when she began the itinerant
existence in France, Italy and England that would
characterize the rest of her life. In Naples, aged eight,
she made her first appearance on the opera stage
alongside her father in Paër’s Agnese. That same year,
1816, she accompanied him to Rome for the premiere of
Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, where García created the
role of Almaviva. The composer, disappointed by the
performance’s lack of success, was consoled by the
child, who – as Rossini reported years later – told him (in
French): ‘Don’t be sad, just wait; when I’m a grown-up I’ll
sing the Barber everywhere, but [stamping her foot]
never, ever in Rome, even if the Pope himself begs me on
bended knee.’
Her relationship with her father was troubled. There are
numerous anecdotes about the sometimes violent
clashes between the adolescent Maria and her shorttempered parent, who was also her sole, relentlessly
strict singing teacher and earliest stage partner. Just six
months after arriving in New York, the seventeen-yearold Maria rushed into marriage with a man twenty-eight
years her senior – Eugène Malibran, a Frenchman of
Spanish descent – and she even withdrew from the stage
for a time. Giuditta Pasta’s husband, Giuseppe, in New
York as part of the García company, wrote to his wife in
Paris that ‘in a few days Marietta Garzia [sic] is to marry
a merchant who is over forty, though still quite goodlooking and, they say, rich. She will reportedly end her
commitment to Garzia and leave the theatre. If that is
true, then it’s goodbye to the Italian Opera of New Jorck
[sic]’ (14 March 1826).
This encounter with Rossini and his music proved as
fateful for Maria as it was for her father: Rosina (Il
barbiere di Siviglia), Angelina (Cenerentola), Tancredi,
Ninetta (La gazza ladra), Semiramide and, above all,
Desdemona in Otello would all accelerate her meteoric
rise. The influence was personal, too; for the rest of his
life, the great composer remained extremely sympathetic
to the García family and opened many doors for them.
Maria made her official stage debut as Rosina in
London on 11 June 1825, standing in at short notice for
Giuditta Pasta. She became the talk of the town. Yet
before long her adventure-seeking father was on the
move again. This time he decided on the spur of the
moment to leave Europe altogether and try his luck on a
new continent, taking the first Italian opera company to
America. Largely comprising García family members, it
presented the obligatory Rossini operas at New York’s
Park Theatre with Maria in the leading female roles.
Here the young woman took part for the second time in
Whether it was an escape or a marriage of love, Maria’s
relationship with Eugène was strained almost from the
start. A contributory factor may have been his dodgy
business dealings, which brought him close to
bankruptcy. It was not long before Maria began singing
again, even organising concerts in Philadelphia and
singing concerts again in New York. Ultimately, the only
solution to her financial difficulties and deteriorating
private life was a return to Europe – without her
husband, who was under house arrest. At the end of
1827 the emancipated, self-confident young woman set
sail for France to advance her extraordinary singing
With astonishing speed – and once again under the
benevolent eye of Rossini – Maria became idolized by
the Parisians. Opera impresarios plied her with
increasingly attractive offers; a battle raged in the press
between her fans and foes and she was fêted by high
society at opulent soirées. Between
engagements in Paris, she frequently
appeared in London. For a time she
sang at no fewer than three different
theatres – King’s, Drury Lane and
Covent Garden – and won the
admiration of the music-loving
English public as she toured the
country with her varied concert
went and was often not allowed to
proceed until she had sung a little. In
Naples she bravely defied the king
(by refusing to appear before him
until he lifted the ban on applause at
the Teatro San Carlo), while in Milan
she fought with officials to be able to
perform the title role in Donizetti’s
Maria Stuarda without censorship.
In the Austrian-ruled Po valley and
Bologna she became a figurehead
of the Risorgimento, and in Venice
she saved a theatre from closure by
giving a benefit concert. It was
promptly named after her: Teatro
Maria’s relations with her husband
Eugène Malibran had long since
cooled when, in the French capital,
she met the attractive Belgian violinist
Charles de Bériot and became
openly involved with him. In an age
Her hair-raising travels on land were
when female artists were only
no less impressive than her wearying
considered socially acceptable in
Atlantic crossings. Love of speed and
certain circumstances (sought after,
eagerness to reach her destination
for example, as entertainment at
often led her, usually travelling in
social occasions but not invited as
guests), Paris was divided over the
men’s clothes, to consign her drivers
relationship between these two
to the inside of the carriage while
Sketch by Maria Malibran,
she occupied the coach box alone
soulmates; for enthusiastic French
possibly a self-portrait
reproduced courtesy of Anthony Gasson
and whipped the horses on herself.
youth Maria was now a genuine
One anecdote tells how, to avoid a
romantic icon, but scandalized high
cholera epidemic, she undertook a dangerous journey
society punished her with cold disdain. Although still
on foot from Lucca to Milan, another relates a ‘quick’
celebrated and honoured, the singer yielded to social
excursion from Milan to Brussels and back to settle a
pressure and left France. From 1832 until her death she
never sang in public in Paris again. Her rehabilitation had family matter.
to wait until posterity put her on a pedestal after her
Maria had what it takes to be a superstar. She became
untimely death. Even after her hasty departure from
the first woman to rival the adulation accorded those
France, Malibran fever in Europe did not subside – it
operatic heroes of the seventeenth and eighteenth
spread like wildfire across Italy and into Belgium and
centuries, the castrati, but with the difference that her
England too. In Italy she conquered the important
fame spread over several continents. The fuss made over
musical centres of Rome, Naples, Bologna, Milan and
her became ever greater. Her fees became astronomical.
Venice and numerous smaller cities. Here she sang roles
Society and the press took an increasingly avid interest in
by Vincenzo Bellini for the first time, which suited her
both her public and her private life. Numerous
nature and her voice better than virtually any other music
composers wrote operas for her and she inspired artists
she had sung before. As Amina in sonnambula, but also
and poets. Her powers of dramatic and musical
as Norma and Romeo, she drove Italian audiences wild.
expression, her slim, delicate figure, her highly emotional
While in France she was elevated to the status of a
acting, her turbulent life and her physical vulnerability
romantic goddess, in Italy she was treated by the people (fainting spells and indisposition were the order of the
as one of their own. She was recognized everywhere she day) led the world to consider her the archetype of
romantic womanhood. Easily missed underneath all the
clichés, however, was a strong-willed, independent,
modern woman, who was also lonely, often in despair,
physically exhausted and ill.
Today we appreciate how subjective contemporary
reports can be, and yet we are able to recognise the
uniqueness of Malibran’s mezzo-soprano voice in the
music she sang, the roles conceived for her and her own
compositions. Her extensive, exceptionally varied
repertoire also demanded a range of emotional and
dramatic expressiveness to which only an outstanding
talent could do justice. Further testimony to her
extraordinary personality are the whimsical and
passionate letters she wrote in a hotchpotch of different
languages, her acutely observed caricatures and her
tasteful drawings.
By 1836 Maria’s career seems to have reached its zenith
and she was happy in her private life. Her marriage to
Eugène Malibran was finally annulled in the spring, after
a tug-of-war lasting years. Soon after she was able to
marry her beloved Charles, with whom she lived, when
they were not touring together, outside Paris and near
Brussels, where her mother and sister also resided
following the death of her father in 1832. This happy
existence soon came to an abrupt end in the autumn of
1836; a pregnant Maria de Bériot died in Manchester
from injuries sustained during a serious riding accident in
London a few months earlier.
With the silencing of her voice, her contemporaries were
left with only memories of this unique woman. In the
Spain of her roots she was remembered as the Spaniard
‘Mariquita’, in France as the native-born and locally
celebrated ‘Malibran’, in America as the first opera star
‘la Signorina’, in Italy as the people’s favourite ‘Marietta’,
in England as the ‘unrivalled Madame Malibran’ and in
Belgium, where she was laid to rest by her family, as
‘Madame de Bériot’.
Programme notes © Decca Music Group
Maria Malibran Exhibition
Tue 18 Dec
Wed 19 Dec
Thu 20 Dec
Fri 21 Dec
Sat 22 Dec
Outside St Giles Church, across the lake from the Barbican
Featuring rare objects, letters and music manuscripts from Cecilia Bartoli's personal
collection, documenting the life of Maria Malibran and offering an intriguing insight
into the operatic world of the 19th century.
Free entry
To book tickets please call 020 7638 8891.
Tickets are available in 20-minute slots and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Texts and translations
Manuel García (1775-1832)
Recitative, Scena and Aria (Semiramide): ‘E non lo vedo…Son regina’,
from Act Two of La figlia dell’aria, opera in two acts
Libretto: Gaetano Rossi (1774–1855)
First performance: 25 April 1826, Park Theatre, New York
Semiramide is anxiously searching for her lover. From the cries of the enraged populace she learns that, by order of
the jealous king Nino, he is to be publicly blinded. Proudly she takes her place at the head of the citizens of Nineveh,
rising up against their brutal king.
E non lo vedo e invan lo cerco.
L’ora fatal s’appressa. Pochi
istanti ancora e poi... misera me!
Di quel tiranno io fra le braccia,
oh dio, e il mio Mennon!
Poss’io e perderlo, e scordarlo!
Io che l’adoro or più che mai.
Come farò nel seno d’un mondo
senza lui Che giorni – oh dei! –
disperati e crudel saranno i miei?
I cannot see him. I search for him in vain.
The fatal hour is nigh. A few
moments more and then,ah me!
I shall be in the arms of that tyrant.
o god, and my Mennon!
Can I lose him, forget him?
I who love him now more than ever.
What shall I do in a world
without him? How desperate and cruel – o gods –
will my days be without him?
Quai meste voci! Il nome del mio
Mennon fra quei lamenti!
Oh tradimento! o mio tormento!
Quai voci si destano in me? Forza e
coraggio! Qual poderoso istinto alla
gloria m’invita, all’armi, al trono!
E mi rammento qual fui, qual esser
deggio e qual io sono:
What sorrowful voices! My Mennon’s
name among their laments!
Oh, betrayal! Oh, my torment!
What voices are these that wake within me? Might and
courage! What powerful instinct
summons me to glory, to arms and to the throne!
I recall what I was, what I must
be and what I am:
Son regina e sono amante,
di furor col braccio armato,
al tiranno debellato
io la morte apporterò.
I am both queen and lover;
armed with my fury
I shall bring death
to the conquered tyrant.
E sopra i popoli
cari al mio core
scettro d’amore
io stringerò.
And over the people
dear to my heart
I shall brandish
the sceptre of love.
Morte al tiranno e libertà.
Death to the tyrant and liberty.
Texts and translations
Giuseppe Persiani (1799-1869)
Romanza (Ines): ‘Cari giorni’, from Act Two of Ines de Castro
Libretto: Salvatore Cammarano (1801–1852)
First performance: 28 January 1835, Teatro San Carlo, Naples
The king of Portugal has imprisoned Ines de Castro, lover of his son, Don Pedro, and mother of the young man’s two
children. The king has taken the children away from Ines, convinced that they are illegitimate. Ines and Don Pedro
have in fact married but Ines despairs of proving her innocence and, in a poignant romanza, reflects on the carefree
days of her youth.
Cari giorni a me sereni
d’innocenza e di virtù,
foste brevi, siete spenti,
né a brillar tornate più.
Cherished, peaceful days
of innocence and virtue,
fleeting were you, and over now,
you will never shine again.
Nel dolor è scorsa intera
la prim’ora dell’età,
mia giornata innanzi sera
nel dolor tramonterà.
My youthful days are all
submerged in sorrow,
my day will fade into despair
before nightfall.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Scena and Aria ‘Infelice’ for voice, violin solo and orchestra
Text: Pietro Metastasio (1698–1782)
First performance: 19 May 1834, Philharmonic Society, London
In the recitative to this aria, the singer first declares utter contempt for her beloved, who has just abandoned her. But
her outburst soon develops into a soliloquy in which she oscillates between hatred and abiding love. A violin solo
ushers in tender recollections of her lost, golden days of happiness. But before long she is overcome by a new surge
of despair: in the end, every bright hope, every love turns to grief and pain.
Infelice! già dal mio sguardo
si dileguo. Partì. La mia presenza
l’iniquo non sostenne. Rammenta al
fine i falli, i torti suoi. Risveglia la
tua virtù, scordati l’empio traditor!
Amante sventurata! E l’amo pure…
Così fallace amore, le tue promesse
attendi? Tu non mai rendi la rapita
quiete? Queste son le speranze
e l’ore liete?
The wretch! He has already fled
my sight. He has gone. The wicked man
could not bear my presence. Remember now
his faults, his wrongdoing. Revive
your virtue; forget the wicked traitor!
Unhappy lover! And yet I love him still!
Thus, false love, do you keep your promises?
Do you never restore peace to
your victims? Are these the
hopes and hours of joy?
Ah ritorna, età dell’oro
alla terra abbandonata,
Ah, return, golden age,
to your abandoned land,
Texts and translations
se non fosti immaginata
nel sognar felicità.
Fu il mondo allor felice
che un tenero arboscello,
un limpido ruscello
le genti alimentò.
Ah ritorna, bell’età.
if you were more than the fancy
of happy dreams.
The world was merry then
when a young sapling,
a limpid stream,
sustained the people.
Ah, return, beautiful age.
D’amor nel regno
non v’è contento
che del tormento
non sia minor.
Si scorge appena
felice speme
che nuova pena
la turba ancor.
Ah ritorna, bell’età.
In the realm of love
is there no joy
not eclipsed
by torment?
Barely is the light
of hope perceived
when new sorrow
clouds it once again.
Ah, return, beautiful age.
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Rondo finale (Angelina) ‘Nacqui all’affanno e al pianto’, from Act Two of La Cenerentola
Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti (1784 -1852)
First performance: 25 January 1817, Teatro della Valle, Rome
As Angelina (Cenerentola) celebrates her happiness with Prince Ramiro, she reflects on how her life has changed and
forgives her father and step-sisters for their mistreatment of her.
Nacqui all’affanno, al pianto,
soffri tacendo il core;
ma per soave incanto
dell’età mia nel fiore,
come un baleno rapido
la sorte mia cangiò.
I was born to suffering and to tears,
I suffered in silence,
but by some sweet magic spell,
in the flower of my youth,
swift as a shaft of lightning,
my fate has changed.
No, no; tergete il ciglio,
perché tremar, perché?
A questo sen volate;
figlia, sorella, amica,
tutto trovate in me.
No, dry your tears.
Why be afraid?
Hurry to me;
daughter, sister, friend,
you will find all in me.
Non più mesta accanto al fuoco
staro sola a gorgheggiar.
Ah, fu un lampo, un sogno, un giuoco
il mio lungo palpitar.
I shall no longer sit sadly by the fire,
singing alone.
My long time of distress was no
more than a flash, a dream, a game.
Texts and translations
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Willow Song and Prayer (Desdemona) from Act Three of Otello
Libretto by Francesco Maria Berio di Salsa (1765-1820)
First performance: 4 December 1816, Teatro del Fondo, Naples
Otello’s jealousy concerning his wife, Desdemona, has been inflamed by the plotting of Iago, and he has been exiled
from Venice by the Senate. The grief-stricken Desdemona, hearing a gondolier singing outside her window, intones a
doleful song of her own, ending with a prayer for Otello’s return.
Assisa a piè d’un salice,
immersa nel dolore,
giacea trafitta Isaura
dal più crudele amore;
l’aura fra i rami
flebile ne ripetea il suon.
Sitting at the foot of a willow tree,
sunk in sorrow,
was Isaura, wounded
by the cruellest love;
the breeze in the trees
faintly echoed the sound.
I ruscelletti limpidi
da caldi suoi sospiri
il mormorio mescevano
de’ lor diversi giri.
L’aura fa i rami
flebile ne ripetea il suon.
The clear streams
mingled the murmurs
of eddying water
with her burning sighs.
The breeze in the trees
faintly echoed the sound.
Salce d’amor delizia
ombra pietosa appresta
di mie sciagure immemore
all’urna mia funesta
né più ripeta l’aura
de’ miei lamenti il suon.
Willow, lover of love,
forget my misfortune
and lend a merciful shade
to my tomb;
and let the breeze repeat no more
the sound of my lament.
Ma stanca alfin di spargere
mesti sospiri e pianto,
mori l’afflitta vergine
ah! di quel salce accanto.
Ma stanca alfin di spargere,
mori l’afflitta vergine,
mori, che il duol, l’ingrato ...
But, weary at last of shedding
her sad tears and sighs,
the unhappy maiden died,
alas, beside the willow.
But, weary at last of weeping,
the unhappy maiden died,
she died, that the grief, the faithless man ...
Ahime! che il pianto proseguir
non mi fa!
Alas, my own weeping stops
me from continuing!
Deh, calma, o ciel, nel sonno
per poco le mie pene,
fa che i’ amato bene
mi venga a consolar.
O heaven, soothe my suffering
for a while with sleep.
Make my beloved
come to console me.
Texts and translations
Se poi son vani i prieghi
di mia fredd’ urna in seno
di pianto venga almeno
il cenere a bagnar.
Yet if my prayers prove vain,
let him at least come to my
cold urn to bathe my ashes
with tears.
Michael William Balfe (1808-1870)
Ballad (Isoline): ‘Yon moon o’er the mountains’, from Act One of The Maid of Artois, opera in three acts
Libretto: Alfred Bunn (c.1797-1860)
First performance: 27 May 1836, Drury Lane Theatre, London
After Isoline, the maid of Artois, has yielded to the advances of the Marquis de Château-Vieux, in the hope of saving
her beloved Jules from a mercenary’s lot, she sings a melancholy song in which the romantic evening mood and
rising moon remind her of the bygone joys of love in her native land.
Yon moon o’er the mountains
wanes heavily still,
her light o’er the fountains
falls pallid and chill,
the dews of the morning
are melting away,
in the sunlight adorning,
the blushes of day.
My warm tear in falling
weeps o’er this proud shrine,
in remembrance recalling
the scenes that were mine!
Oh, I wish I were roaming
along the green plain
with the heart I loved,
loving my fond heart again.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837)
Air à la Tyrolienne avec variations
Published: Vienna/Paris/London, 1830,
with the dedication ‘sung for the first time by Madame Malibran-García in London, composed for and dedicated to her’
Text: anon.
A series of bravura variations with an arresting yodelling refrain. The text is a pastoral love song.
Carina, senti un poco
come batte questo core;
deh senti pietà
del mio dolor:
un tenero sguardo
tu volgi a me!
Diri doï di, ecc.
Ioleï o leï o, ecc.
Beloved, just feel
how this heart is beating,
ah, take pity
on my suffering:
turn your eyes
with kindness on me!
Diri doi di, etc.
Yolayolayo, etc.
Texts and translations
Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
Final Aria ‘Ah, non credea mirarti’ and cabaletta ‘Ah, non giunge’ (Amina), from La sonnambula, opera in two acts
Libretto: Felice Romani (1788-1865)
First performance: 6 March 1831, Teatro Carcano, Milan
The sleep-walking Amina addresses the withered bouquet once given her by her fiancé Elvino as a pledge of his love;
her tears, however, can revive neither the flowers nor Elvino’s faded affections. But the sight of the suffering young
woman causes Elvino to regret his jealousy and he forgives Amina. In a virtuosic cabaletta she sings of her joy, to the
cheers of the assembled company.
Ah! non credea mirarti
sì presto estinto, o fiore;
passasti al par d’amore,
che un giorno sol durò.
Potria novel vigore
il pianto mio recarti,
ma ravvivar l’amore
il pianto mio non può.
Ah! non credea, ecc.
Oh, I never thought that you
would die so soon, sweet flowers!
You faded like love itself,
which lasted but for a day.
Maybe my tears
will revive you,
but they will never
revive love, alas.
Oh, I never thought, etc.
Ah! non giunge uman pensiero
al contento ond’io son piena:
ai miei sensi io credo appena;
tu m’affida, o mio tesor.
Ah, m’abbraccia, e sempre insieme,
sempre uniti in una speme,
della terra in cui viviamo
ci formiamo un ciel d’amor!
Ah, beyond all human thought
is the joy that fills me now.
I can hardly believe my senses!
My dearest, reassure me.
Ah, embrace me, and together for always,
united in one single hope,
we will make of the world we live in
a paradise of love!
Translations: Susannah Howe and Avril Bardoni (La sonnambula) © Decca Music Group Ltd.
About the performers
such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal
Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, the
Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Salzburg Festival
and the Zürich Opera House, where she has presented
many of her operatic roles for the first time. Most recently,
her roles have included Rossini’s Fiorilla in Il Turco in
Italia at Covent Garden and two Handelian heroines,
Cleopatra (in Giulio Cesare with Marc Minkowski) and
Semele (with William Christie) in Zurich.
In 2007/08 Cecilia Bartoli is concentrating on the early
19th century – the era of Italian Romanticism and
Belcanto – and especially the legendary singer Maria
Malibran whose 200th birthday will be celebrated in
Cecilia Bartoli mezzo-soprano
For more than two decades Cecilia Bartoli has been
bringing classical music close to the hearts of millions of
people throughout the world. Her projects have caused
widespread re-evaluation and rediscovery of the
neglected composers and forgotten repertoire which she
puts up for discussion.
Herbert von Karajan, Daniel Barenboim and Nikolaus
Harnoncourt were among the first conductors Cecilia
Bartoli worked with. They noticed her talent at a very
early stage when she had barely completed her vocal
studies with her parents in her home-town Rome. Since
then, other leading conductors, pianists and orchestras
have been her regular partners. In recent years, her work
has begun to focus on collaborations with the most
significant period instrument orchestras (Akademie für
Alte Musik, Les Arts Florissants, Concentus Musicus Wien,
Freiburger Barockorchester, Il Giardino Armonico,
Kammerorchester Basel, Les Musiciens du Louvre,
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestra La
Scintilla). Projects with orchestras where Cecilia Bartoli
assumes the overall artistic responsibility have become
increasingly important, not least her partnership with the
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Cecilia Bartoli regularly sings in the most important
concert halls in Europe, the United States and Japan. Her
stage appearances include opera houses and festivals
Cecilia Bartoli has been endowed with the Italian
Knighthood and is an Accademico effettivo of Santa
Cecilia, Rome, a French Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
and an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of
Music, London.
Bartoli records exclusively with Decca, and has to-date
sold six million CDs and ranked in the international pop
charts for more than 100 weeks. numerous Golden Discs,
4 Grammys (USA), 7 Echos and a Bambi (Germany), two
Classical Brit Awards (UK), the Victoire de la Musique
(France), the Concertgebouw Prize (Netherlands) and the
Record Academy Award (Japan) ultimately reflect the
immense success of her solo albums Vivaldi, Gluck,
Salieri and Opera proibita and have firmly established
her position as ‘best selling classical artist’ over a number
of years.
About the performers
Ada Pesch conductor
Ada Pesch has been principal
concertmaster of the Zürich
Opera House Orchestra since
1990. Born in Cleveland, Ohio,
she began playing the violin at six
and went on to study with Josef
Gingold at the University of
Indiana. She also performed in
masterclasses with Arthur Grumiaux and György Sebök.
In 1984 Pesch moved to Europe to become concertmaster
with the Hof Symphony Orchestra, and in 1990 became
first concertmaster of the Orchestra of the Zürich Opera
House, working with conductors such as Ricardo Chailly,
Christoph von Dohnanyi, John Elliot Gardiner and Franz
Welser-Möst. She is a founding member and
concertmaster of the Orchestra La Scintilla, the periodinstrument ensemble at the Zürich Opera House, with
whom she regularly performs and records with early music
pioneers. In 2005 she led the Orchestra La Scintilla on a
North American and European tour with Cecilia Bartoli.
Pesch has appeared as guest concertmaster with Les Arts
Florissants under William Christie and Les Musiciens du
Louvre under Marc Minkowski for concerts, live radio
broadcasts and CD recordings. Her chamber music
collaborations are many and varied. She is also director
of the Baroque Music Festival in Ernen, Switzerland,
which she founded in 2004.
Robert Pickup clarinet
Robert Pickup was born in England and grew up in South
Africa. He completed a BMus (musicology) and
Performers Licentiate at the University of South Africa
before continuing his studies at the Conservatoire de
Musique de Genève where he received Premiere Prix de
awards in South Africa as well as international prizes in
Switzerland, Denmark and Romania.
Robert is an active chamber musician and has recorded
CD’s with the South African Chamber Music Society, the
Swiss Wind Soloists and the Ensemble Kontraste Zürich.
He is also featured on Paul Hanmer’s jazz album
Window to Elsewhere. Robert’s repertoire ranges from
Baroque clarinet to 21st-century music, and several South
African composers have written pieces for him. In 1996
he gave the premiere of Thomas Rajna’s Rhapsody for
Clarinet and Orchestra.
Orchestra La Scintilla Zürich
In the 1970s Monteverdi’s three great operas were
performed at the Zürich Opera House under the musical
direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt. As world-wide
interest in period instrument performance increased, so
too did the player’s enthusiasm for this performance
style. In 1996 a separate specialist group was formed
within the Zürich Opera Orchestra regularly to present
operas from the 17th and 18th centuries on original
instruments. The group’s name, ‘La Scintilla’, translates
from Italian as ‘the spark’).
The Orchestra La Scintilla has performed at the Zürich
Opera House under leading conductors such as
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Lucio Silla, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in
patria and Poppea), William Christie (Orphée et
Euridice, Iphigénie en Tauride, Les Indes Galantes,
Radamisto and Orlando) and Marc Minkowksi (Les
Boréades and Il trionfo del tempo et del disinganno).
Almost all baroque and classical operas produced at the
Zürich Opera House are currently played by the
Orchestra La Scintilla – most recently Mozart’s La finta
giardiniera under Harnoncourt and Handel’s Orlando
and Semele under Christie.
He worked as co-principal clarinetist in the National
Symphony Orchestra of South Africa and Brabants
Orchestra in Holland before becoming solo clarinetist of
the Orchestra of the Zürich Opera House in 1999. In 1995
he received the Young Artist Award of the International
Clarinet Association and went on to win major music
About the performers
Orchestra La Scintilla Zürich
Violin I
Ada Pesch*
Rebecca Aeschbach
Jonathan Allen
Susanne von
Lisa Gustafson
Janet Kim
Regula Schaer
Marjolein Streefkerk
Double Bass
Dieter Lange
Robert Pickup*
Barbara Boppart
Deirdre Dowling
Margrit Hasler
Wilhelm Gerlach
Juliet Shaxson
Maria Goldschmidt
Rebekka Brunner
Violin II
Monika Baer
Aina Hickel
Eva Noth
Muriel Quistad
Daniel Pezzotti
Paul Carlioz
Bettina Messerschmidt
Pier Luigi Fabretti
Esther Fluor
Hans-Peter Achberger
* soloists
Simon Lilly
Hanspeter Treichler
Rhoda Patrick
Barbara Meditz
Cecilia Bartoli explores the extraordinary
life and tragic death of mezzo-soprano Maria
Malibran, with a selection of Romantic Bel
canto arias including 8 World Premiere
Arias by Pacini, Persiani,
Mendelssohn, Bellini, Hummel,
Garcia, Malibran
Available here tonight.
CD: 475 9078
CD: 475 9077 (limited edition)
CD & DVD: 475 9082 (limited edition)
Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo-Soprano)
Orchestra La Scintilla,
Adam Fischer
0 YE A R
Glen Borling
Edward Deskur
Margret Köll

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