Cecilia Bartoli

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Cecilia Bartoli (2007)

Cecilia Bartoli (born June 4, 1966 in Rome ) is an Italian-Austrian opera singer . She is a coloratura - mezzo-soprano and has a vocal range of over two and a half octaves . She has directed the Salzburg Whitsun Festival since 2012 .


Cecilia Bartoli's parents - Pietro Angelo Bartoli and Silvana Bazzoni - were both opera singers. Her mother gave up a promising solo career as a soprano because of the children; from then on she sang in the choir of the Roman opera and dedicated herself to her three children Gabriele, Cecilia and Federica. The parents' marriage broke up. The father continued his career as a tenor in Rimini , but had only mediocre success there.

The mother recognized her daughter Cecilia's great talent early on. She, however, initially wanted to become a tourist guide or a flamenco dancer. Her mother eventually convinced her to cultivate her talent for singing and gave her her first singing lessons when she was about sixteen. At 17 she began studying music at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome; During this time, Silvana Bazzoni remained her only singing teacher.

She lives in Zollikon and has been married to the Swiss baritone Oliver Widmer since 2011 .


Cecilia had her first appearance on a stage when she was nine in Puccini's Tosca as a shepherd boy in Rome. In 1985, at the age of 19, Cecilia Bartoli appeared on a talent show on Italian television. It only finished second, but it still attracted attention. She made her debut at the age of 19 as Rosina in Rossini's Barber of Seville at her hometown Opera.

Her international breakthrough came in 1988 with her appearance at the Paris Opera in homage to Maria Callas , who drew the attention of conductors Herbert von Karajan , Daniel Barenboim and Nikolaus Harnoncourt to her.

Herbert von Karajan invited her to Salzburg, where she studied Bach's Mass in B minor with him . Since Karajan died, there was no performance. Under the direction of Daniel Barenboim and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, she specialized in Mozart roles and lesser-known works from the Baroque and early Classical periods and quickly became internationally known. With the role of Zerlina she appeared in the Milan Scala in Don Giovanni in March 1993 (conductors: Riccardo Muti, Philippe Auguin), in August 1994 at the Salzburg Festival (under Daniel Barenboim). In 1996 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Despina in Mozart's Così fan tutte . The following year she sang the title role in Rossini's La Cenerentola .

Her more recent roles include Fiorilla in Rossini's Turco in Italia at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden , Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare under Marc Minkowski , Semele under William Christie at the Zurich Opera House and the title role in Halévys Clari under Ádám Fischer , also in Zurich. In 2007/08, Cecilia Bartoli dedicated herself to the great singer Maria Malibran (1808–1836). In 2009 she dealt with the history of castrato singers in her project Sacrificium and recorded a CD with arias written for castrati. In June 2010 she sang the title role in Bellini's Norma for the first time under the conductor Thomas Hengelbrock in concert at the Konzerthaus Dortmund .

Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival

As Cleopatra at the Salzburg Festival

Bartoli has been leading the Salzburg Whitsun Festival since 2012 and celebrated a veritable triumph in the first season - as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare in Egitto . In 2013 she sang the title role of Bellini's Norma for the first time in a scenic performance (conductor Giovanni Antonini , Orchestra La Scintilla , directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier ). In 2014 she sang both Cenerentola and Desdemona in Rossini's Otello in Salzburg . In 2015 Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride followed, and Handel's Semele in concert (both with the Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis ). In 2016 she sang Maria in Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story and had critical reviews, Gustavo Dudamel conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar .

Giulio Cesare , Norma , Cenerentola and the Iphigénie were also included in the summer program of the Salzburg Festival , Norma twice (2013 and 2015), each time sold out. Most of the time, the Salzburg audience thanked the artist with standing ovations .

In 2019, her contract as Artistic Director of the Whitsun Festival was extended until 2026.


In addition to Italian, Cecilia Bartoli also speaks English, French and Spanish, but prefers to sing in her mother tongue because this is where her sense of language is safest. She says of herself that she always strives to develop herself further, to explore the repertoire and to constantly see it from new perspectives. It is important for them to always discover something new in well-known works.

Cecilia Bartoli studied original scores by forgotten composers and operas and made adjustments for the interpreters that were common in the 19th century, for example in Bellini's Norma . Furthermore, she strives for the historical original sound with ensembles that play old instruments (e.g. Concentus Musicus Wien , Il Giardino Armonico , Orchestra La Scintilla and others). This also suits her voice, which critics describe as small. Ensembles from the 17th and 18th centuries are usually smaller than today's orchestras.

In her album St Petersburg she dedicates herself to baroque music at the Russian court.

Cecilia Bartoli sings regularly in the largest concert halls and opera houses in the world. Its current parent company is the Zurich Opera House .

Cecilia Bartoli Music Foundation

In 2007, the Cecilia Bartoli Music Foundation was established, which is generally dedicated to promoting music, including researching, performing and disseminating music, building collections and exhibitions. In 2007/08 she financed a mobile exhibition in a tractor-trailer about the opera singer Maria Malibran as an accompaniment to her European tour with arias a. a. from Malibran's repertoire.


Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1997 A Hymn for the World - - - FR12 (5 weeks)
First published: August 1997
with Andrea Bocelli & Chung Myung-whun
Hits & More DE62 (5 weeks)
- - -
First published: October 1997
with Luciano Pavarotti , Frank Sinatra & Andrea Bocelli
1999 Duets DE85 (2 weeks)
- - -
First published: February 1999
with Bryn Terfel
The Vivaldi album DE66 (6 weeks)
- - FR57 (16 weeks)
First publication: November 1999
with Il Giardino Armonico
2001 Gluck: Italian Arias DE50 (7 weeks)
- CH82 (1 week)
FR41 (18 weeks)
First published: September 2001
2002 The Art of Cecilia Bartoli - - - FR53 (14 weeks)
First published: October 2002
2003 The Salieri album DE33 (12 weeks)
- CH46 (6 weeks)
FR24 (23 weeks)
First published: September 2003
2004 Live in Italy - - - FR143 (4 weeks)
First published: December 2004
with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
2005 Opera Proibita DE16 (22 weeks)
AT37 (8 weeks)
CH25 (13 weeks)
FR14 (28 weeks)
First published: September 2005
2007 Maria DE15 (10 weeks)
AT45 (5 weeks)
CH27 (7 weeks)
FR17 (49 weeks)
First published: September 2007
2008 La sonnambula - - - FR141 (2 weeks)
First published: October 2008
2009 Sacrificium DE21 (13 weeks)
AT28 (7 weeks)
CH13 (12 weeks)
FR8 (36 weeks)
First published: October 2009
2010 Sospiri DE39 (3 weeks)
AT50 (3 weeks)
CH62 (4 weeks)
FR25 (16 weeks)
First published: October 2010
2012 mission DE24 (7 weeks)
AT21 (7 weeks)
CH24 (8 weeks)
FR19 (27 weeks)
First published: September 2012
2013 Norma (Bellini) DE75 (1 week)
AT63 (1 week)
CH72 (1 week)
FR127 (1 week)
First published: May 2013
with Sumi Jo , John Osborn & Michele Pertusi
2014 St. Petersburg DE40 (4 weeks)
AT10 (8 weeks)
CH18 (6 weeks)
FR14 (12 weeks)
First publication: October 2014
with I Barocchisti & Diego Fasolis
2017 Dolce duello DE39 (2 weeks)
AT42 (4 weeks)
CH33 (7 weeks)
FR49 (4 weeks)
First published: November 10, 2017
with Sol Gabetta
2018 Antonio Vivaldi - AT51 (3 weeks)
CH39 (8 weeks)
First publication: November 23, 2018
with Ensemble Matheus & Jean-Christophe Spinosi
2019 Farinelli DE57 (1 week)
AT66 (1 week)
CH42 (6 weeks)
First published: November 8, 2019
with Il Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini


Orchestra recitals

  • Mozart Portraits (1994)
  • Rossini Heroines (1992)
  • Rossini recital (1990)
  • Mozart Arias (1991)
  • Rossini Arias (1989)

Piano recitals

  • An Italian Songbook (1997)
  • Chant d'Amour (1996)
  • Italian Songs (1993)
  • Aria Antiche (1992)

Religious music

  • Pergolesi: Stabat Mater , Salve Regina
  • Alessandro Scarlatti: Salve Regina in F minor
  • Mozart: Requiem (1992)


  • Rossini: Cantatas , Volume 2


  • A Portrait (1995)

Awards - prizes

  • 2016 Polar Music Prize
  • 2015 Decoration of Honor of the State of Salzburg
  • 2014 ECHO Klassik in the Opera Recording of the Year category with Sumi Jo under the direction of Giovanni Antonini for the recording of Vincenzo Bellini's opera Norma .
  • 2014: International Opera Award to the Salzburg Festival (Artistic Direction: Cecilia Bartoli) for Norma in the category Best New Production of 2013
  • 2013: 49th Record Academy Awards Japan, Gold Award
  • 2013: Order of Merit for Culture (Monaco) - Ordre du Mérite Culturel
  • 2012: SwissAward in the culture category
  • 2012: Herbert von Karajan Music Prize
  • 2012: Honorary Book of Honor of the Society of Fraumünster
  • 2011: Member of the Kungliga Musikaliska Academies ( Royal Swedish Academy of Music )
  • 2010: Honorary Doctorate from University College Dublin
  • 2010: Record Academy Award Japan
  • 2010: Handel Prize of the city of Halle Saale
  • 2010: Léonie Sonning Music Prize
  • Italy: "Cavaliere" and "Accademico Effettivo di Santa Cecilia"
  • France: " Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres "
  • London: Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music
  • Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Performance (2002)
  • Bambi (2002)
  • ECHO Klassik 2008 - Singer of the Year: Cecilia Bartoli - Maria Malibran: Maria
  • ECHO Klassik 2006 - Singer of the Year: Cecilia Bartoli - G. F. Handel, A. Caldara: Opera Proibita
  • ECHO Klassik 2004 - Bestseller of the year: Cecilia Bartoli - The Salieri Album (Antonio Salieri)
  • ECHO Klassik 2002 - Bestseller of the Year: Cecilia Bartoli - Italian Arias (C. W. Gluck)
  • ECHO Klassik 2001 - Special Prize (Artist of the Year): Cecilia Bartoli - C. W. Gluck
  • ECHO Klassik 2000 - solo recording of the year (17th / 18th century): Arnold Schönberg Choir, Il Giardino Armonico, Cecilia Bartoli - The Vivaldi Album
  • ECHO Klassik 1994 - Singer of the Year: Cecilia Bartoli - La Cenerentola (G. Rossini), Orchestra e coro des Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Riccardo Chailly
  • ECHO Klassik 1994 - Lifetime Achievement: Song Recording of the Year: Cecilia Bartoli, András Schiff - Italian Songs (L. v. Beethoven, F. Schubert, W. A. ​​Mozart, J. Haydn)
  • Gold record for 100,000 units of the Opera Proibita album sold in Germany
  • Gold record for 15,000 units of the Sacrificium and The Vivaldi Album sold in Switzerland
  • Gold record for 50,000 units of Mission and Sospiri albums sold ; for 100,000 units of the albums The Vivaldi Album and Opera Proibita sold and platinum record for 100,000 units of the album Sacrificium sold in France



  • Cecilia Bartoli - Maria Malibran. The story of a passion. Documentary, Germany, 2008, 53 min., Director: Michael Sturminger , production: WDR , summary by arte .
  • Cecilia Bartoli. The art of the castrati. Music broadcast with Il Giardino Armonico , Italy, 2009, 43 min., Director: Olivier Simonnet, producer: Pierre-Olivier Bardet, ZDF , first broadcast: December 20, 2009, synopsis by arte with the beginning of the film (3:19 min.).
    - as DVD : Cecilia Bartoli. Sacrificium. The Music of the Castrati. “A cinematographic vision”, Italy, 2010, 60 min. With 22 min. Bonus recordings and booklet, production: Decca Music , with German subtitles.
    Historically informed music performance in and in front of a historical backdrop, the Royal Palace of Caserta near Naples, and Cecilia Bartoli with “castrato arias” from the Baroque.

Individual evidence

  1. Austrian Federal Chancellery : circulation order of 22.11.2017 ( Memento of 29 December 2017 Internet Archive )
  2. Cecilia Bartoli experiences “wonderful harmony” in Switzerland. In: Aargauer Zeitung , November 8, 2017, accessed on March 9, 2019.
  3. Cecilia Bartoli , All Media Guide, 2007
  4. Günter Gerard: “As a guest in Hamburg: Legendary arias and ballads. Cecilia Bartoli is La Malibran ” , Hamburger Abendblatt , October 30, 2007.
  5. Cecilia Bartoli sings castrati arias
  6. Julia Gaß: “Norma” debut of Bartoli celebrated with jubilation . Ruhr news . June 30, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  7. Cecilia Bartoli (as of June 2014) on the Salzburg Festival website, accessed on January 23, 2015.
  8. z. B. Torsten Preuß: Musical with Cecilia Bartoli as a foreign body. BR Klassik, August 21, 2016, accessed November 22, 2018 .
  9. orf.at: Whitsun Festival: Bartoli extended until 2026 . Article dated June 10, 2019, accessed June 11, 2019.
  10. Cecilia Bartoli Portrait , musik-base.de, 2007
  11. a b Cecilia Bartoli - Biography , KlassikAkzente.de, 9/2008
  12. Cecilia Bartoli St Petersburg. Article from November 1, 2014 on cosmopolis.ch , accessed on January 23, 2015.
  13. Official website of the Cecilia Bartoli Music Foundation
  14. CREDIT SUISSE Sponsoring March 11, 2008: Cecilia Bartoli pays homage to the singer Maria Malibran ( Memento from August 30, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Chart sources: DE AT CH FR
  16. http://www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS_20150526_OTS0099/cecilia-bartoli-mit-ehrenzeichen-des-landes-ausgezeichen
  17. Echoklassik.de Klassik Prize Winner 2014 ( Memento from January 21, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on October 26, 2014
  18. ^ Opera Awards 2014 - The 2014 Winners ( Memento from April 12, 2014 on the Internet Archive ), on the Opera Awards website
  19. International Opera Awards - Salzburg Festival win with NORMA in the category "Best New Production of 2013" on the Salzburg Festival website
  20. "Norma" scoops Gold Award on http://ceciliabartolionline.com , accessed January 23, 2015.
  21. Cecilia Bartoli “Opera Proibita” ( Memento from January 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). Summa Cultura, 2005.
  22. Gold / platinum database DE , accessed on January 23, 2015.
  23. ^ Gold / platinum database CH , accessed on May 27, 2016.
  24. ^ Gold / platinum database FR , accessed on April 21, 2018.


  • Kim Chernin, Renate Stendhal: Cecilia Bartoli. A declaration of love . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-518-39385-5 .

Web links

Commons : Cecilia Bartoli  - collection of images, videos and audio files