Cecilia Bartoli


Cecilia Bartoli

The Italian soprano or mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli (born 4 June 1966, Rome) is an opera singer and recitalist. She is best-known for her interpretation of the music of Mozart and Rossini, as well as for her performances of lesser-known Baroque and classical music. She is known for having the versatilty to play both soprano and mezzo roles, and is sometimes considered a soprano with a low tessitura. Bartoli's coloratura skill has earned her the title the Queen of Agility.

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Bellini: Norma

Bellini: Norma

Cecilia Bartoli (Norma), Sumi Jo (Adalgisa), John Osborn (Pollione) & Michele Pertusi (Oroveso), Liliana Nikiteanu (Clotilde), Reinaldo Macias (Flavio)

Orchestra La Scintilla & International Chamber Vocalists, Giovanni Antonini

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

For generations Bellini’s “Norma” has been looked at from the vantage point of the Verismo era at the beginning of the 20th century. Now Cecilia Bartoli unveils the opera’s original pre-romantic style and colour by taking Norma back to its roots.

For the first time ever the entire music is recorded with period instruments from Bellini’s time. Traditional cuts are reinstated. Keys and tonalities are put back into place and the music is executed according to Bellini’s own tempo indications.

The leading characters were selected according to Bellini’s own choice of vocal colours: Bellini wrote Norma for Giuditta Pasta, who sang many parts which today are considered mezzosoprano roles. Adalgisa was sung by Giulia Grisi, a light soprano, and Pollione by Domenico Donzelli, who had a flexible, Rossini-style tenor voice.

A new critical music edition was compiled from the autograph score and many manuscript sources.

“Wonderfully acrobatic, Bartoli’s warm voice is neatly complemented by the silver-streaked Adalgisa of the South Korean Sumi Jo...Osborn’s evenly flowing tenor makes Pollione a plausible babe magnet, even to Druids...Rustic winds, resinous strings, tart brass and shivering percussion all add dramatic colouring to Bellini’s magnificent music...Pin back your ears and enjoy.” The Times, 24th May 2013 ****

“The timbres of Orchestra La Scintilla are enchanting, the chorus robust, the whole admirably paced by conductor Giovanni Antonini.” The Independent, 1st June 2013

“Its principal revelations lie in the orchestral sound, stark and abrasive rather than comfortingly smooth, Giovanni Antonini's urgent conducting, and, above all, in Jo's immensely touching depiction of ruined innocence.” The Guardian, 13th June 2013 ***

“Despite using period instruments, the orchestra never sounds undernourished...Bartoli is, most assuredly, Bartoli, and if you are allergic to her in general, you will remain so...Yet you will hear things in her performance that will illuminate aspects of the character as never before...it is a pleasure to hear [the opera] stripped and clear.” International Record Review, July/August 2013

“The result [of a mezzo Norma] is creditable and often expressive, but artistically compromised...while from a purely vocal point of view it sometimes sounds a struggle. Sumi Jo has greater success with Adalgisa, her light, fluttery soprano nicely matching the innocence of Norma's rival...chorus and period-instrument orchestra are excellent.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2013 ***

“Think you know Norma? Think again...It is, in fact, the orchestra who are the biggest surprise - and in many ways the biggest asset - of the recording. ...Bartoli herself is never less than commanding in the title role...However, I was never entirely convinced that she was seeing the role from the inside...Sumi Jo, however, is a delightful Adalgisa.” MusicWeb International, 25th July 2013

“it redefines the work both in terms of sound and in appropriate casting...At the end of [her first] scene I was already convinced that Bartoli could convince as Norma on her own terms both on CD and, given the right collaborators, in the theatre...[Jo] is probably the most convincing Adalgisa of my recent experience....essential listening for any lover of bel canto.” Opera Britannia, 24th May 2013

“[Bartoli] sings Norma entirely on her own terms, without pushing her instrument to emulate any of her illustrious predecessors, and whilst listening I simply couldn’t imagine the role sung in any other way...If you don’t already have this opera on disc, this is entirely compelling in its own right; if you already own one of the older sets, it makes for a fascinating contrast.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 20th May 2013

“I feel confident endorsing this recording of the opera, which features vibrant conducting, atmospheric playing from a period orchestra and a searching, daring performance from Cecilia Bartoli, the most adventurous major diva of our day (as well as that great rarity, a mezzo-soprano Norma).” New York Times, December 2013

“Bartoli is vocally and interpretatively thrilling and her darker tones contrast with Sumi Jo’s lighter-voiced Adalgisa, (echoing Pasta and Grisi, the roles’ creators). John Osborn and Michele Pertusi are also much lighter-toned than usual as Pollione and Oroveso. This is a must-have release.”” Opera Now *****

Presto Disc of the Week

20th May 2013

Building a Library

Stereo Recommendation - November 2015

Decca - 4786018

(CD - 2 discs)


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Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Cecilia Bartoli (Cleopatra), Andreas Scholl (Cesare), Philippe Jaroussky (Sesto), Anne Sofie von Otter (Cornelia), Christophe Dumaux (Tolomeo), Ruben Drole (Achilla), Jochen Kowalski (Nireno/a), Peter Kálmán (Curio)

Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini; Moshe Leiser, Patrice Caurier (directors)

This “dynamite new production” (Opera Today) of Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto inaugurated Cecilia Bartoli’s first season as Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in 2012.

“Bartoli’s Dream Start with Dream Voices” wrote the Vienna Kurier of this uproarious Moshe Leiser/Patrice Caurier in which Bartoli heads a hand-picked cast including Andreas Scholl, Philippe Jaroussky and Anne Sofie Von Otter with Il Giardino Armonico conducted by Giovanni Antonini.

“[Andreas Scholl’s] coloratura is note perfect, he phrases recitatives with as much musicianship as arias, and the steadiness and purity of his voice are remarkable.” The Financial Times

“Bartoli remains at her peak. Not only is her coloratura flawless, and her voice as colorful and ravishingly beautiful as ever, but her ability to use her incomparable technique at the service of expression has also deepened with age. As a seductress, Bartoli was irresistible. Teasing out her incomparably agile coloratura runs, she softened high notes to tickle the senses with a mixture of sweetness and delight. When, in the second act, she mounted a missile and diagonally ascended into the heavens, it felt as though she were riding the ultimate pink Cadillac off to her honeymoon rendezvous. And in her final aria, “Da tempeste il legno infranto” when she danced around the stage and adorned herself with strings of lights while flashing the trademark Bartoli smile, it was all one could do to resist running onstage and give her a huge hug.” San Francisco Classical Voice

Presto Discs of 2016


DVD Video

Region: 0

Decca - 0743856

(DVD Video - 2 discs)


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Cecilia Bartoli: St Petersburg

Cecilia Bartoli: St Petersburg


De’ miei figli: Prologue to La clemenza di tito (Hasse)

Domenico Dall'Oglio (1699-1764), Luigi Madonis (1690-1767)


Pastore che a notte ombrosa (from Seleuco)

Vado a morir (from La forza del amore e dell’ odio)


Agitata in tante pene (from La vergine del sole)

Manfredini, V:

Fra lacci tu mi credi (from Carlo Magno)

Non turbar que' vaghi rai (from Carlo Magno)

A noi vivi, donna eccelsa (from Carlo Magno)


Razverzi pyos gortani, laja (from Altsesta)

Idu na smert (from Altsesta)

O placido il mare (from Siroe re di Persia)

Marcia (from Altsesta)

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Limited edition 1CD Deluxe

Hard Cover Book

Cecilia Bartoli returns with a majestic new album of world premiere recordings, hidden treasures of the Mariinsky.

For the very first time Bartoli explores the Baroque musical treasures of Tsarist Russia with music from the court of three 18th century Tsaristas: Anna, Elizabeth and Catherine the Great.

Music written by Italian and German composers working for the Russian court, this album sheds new light on an incredible and momentous time for Russia, shaping its politics and culture towards the enlightened West.

Mostly sung in Italian, the album also offers the first opportunity to hear Bartoli sing in Russian.

The music has been intricately researched by Bartoli herself, unlocking the archives of St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Library to uncover music lost for over 200 years.

Reunites Bartoli with Baroque specialists Diego Fasolis & I Barocchisti.

St Petersburg lives up to all the expectations one might have for a new Cecilia Bartoli solo album.

It is a perfect showcase for the countless qualities of this fantastic and unique artist, and a world of hidden baroque discoveries from the Mariinsky Archive in St Petersburg, each track a world premiere recording.

“Bartoli hurls herself into these lost artefacts of the Russian baroque with every drop of her usual flair and a little more vibrato than before. There’s nothing pale-faced either about the musicians of Diego Fasolis’s group I Barocchisti; when her coloratura flights fuse with their racing strings it’s as if you’re spinning helplessly into a vortex.” The Times, 9th October 2014 ****

“The music includes some cherishable finds and I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis make ebullient companions. Bartoli herself is starting to sound stretched (the high register is almost semi-detached these days), but she remains agile, passionate, 100% committed.” Financial Times, 11th October 2014 ****

“Anyone expecting...a diet of thin, phoned-in Neapolitan fare will be in for a surprise. There is rich music here, and dramatic too...Bartoli, as ever, is in complete technical command of this music, which in places is as challenging as you'll find at this period...The playing of I Barocchisti...is brilliant, surging, ardent.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“Bartoli's voice is wearing well, and she been recorded with sensitivity. Some of her faster passagework sounds a little rough around the edges, even fierce, but her technical skills are still remarkable, and in the best items her bel canto skills and refinements continue to impress.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 ****

“Cecilia does it again! This is a really fascinating and delightful disc...played with brilliance and fire by Diego Fasolis and I Barocchisti and sung with undiminished style and (mostly) beauty.” Opera Now

Presto Disc of the Week

13th October 2014

Presto Discs of 2014


GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Decca - 4786767



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Luciano Pavarotti: Classic Duets

Luciano Pavarotti: Classic Duets


Au fond du temple saint (from Les Pêcheurs de Perles)

Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)


Qui di sposa eterna...Ah! Verrano a te sull'aure (from Lucia di Lammermoor)

Renata Scotto (soprano)

Chi mi frena in tal momento? (from Lucia di Lammermoor)

Joan Sutherland (soprano), Huguette Tourangeau (mezzo), Ryland Davies (tenor), Sherrill Milnes (baritone), Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)

Giordano, U:

Vicino a te (from Andrea Chénier)

Montserrat Caballe (soprano)


Suzel, buon di 'Cherry Duet' (from L'amico Fritz)

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo)


O soave fanciulla (from La Bohème)

Mirella Freni (soprano)

Vogliatemi bene, un bene piccolini (from Madama Butterfly)

Mirella Freni (soprano)

Nessun dorma (from Turandot)


Libiamo, ne' lieti calici (from La Traviata)

Joan Sutherland (soprano)

Parigi, o cara (from La Traviata)

Cheryl Studer (soprano)

Teco io sto (from Un ballo in maschera)

Renata Tebaldi (soprano)

È il sol dell'anima (from Rigoletto)

June Anderson (soprano)

Bella figlia dell'amore (from Rigoletto)

Joan Sutherland (soprano), Huguette Tourangeau (mezzo)

O terra, addio (from Aida)

Maria Chiara (soprano), Ghena Dimitrova (soprano)

Giá nella notte densa (from Otello)

Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano)

Decca - 4787583



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Rossini: Otello

Rossini: Otello

John Osborn (Otello), Cecilia Bartoli (Desdemona), Peter Kálmán (Elmiro), Javier Camarena (Rodrigo/Lucio), Edgardo Rocha (Iago) & Liliana Nikiteanu (Emilia)

Chorus of the Opernhaus Zürich & Orchestra La Scintilla, Muhai Tang

Moshe Leiser & Patrice Caurier (Stage direction)

Cecilia Bartoli makes her long-anticipated debut in the role of Desdemona in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s new production of Rossini’s Otello for the Zurich Opera House.

“Ms. Bartoli…displayed…the dazzling strengths that have characterized her work since the beginning. It is obvious that she has plotted out every musical and dramatic moment: every subtle diminuendo, every gesture. But her charm — those twinkling eyes, those powerful low notes — is such that the effect doesn’t feel overly calculated.” – The New York Times

“Zurich Opera stared down the mighty challenge posed by Rossini’s Otello ossia il moro di Venezia, and knocked it out of the ballpark.” – Operatoday.com

Rossini’s unusual scoring of the drama calls for three tenor supporting roles – here sung to universal acclaim by long-standing Bartoli collaborators John Osborn and Javier Camarena and newcomer Edgardo Rocha.

Bartoli’s dramatic command and vocal presence dominate the stage and reveal her artistry to be entering a rich new stage of development.

“Sophisticated and expressive performance deserves to bring the composer’s under-sung work to the widest possible audience.” Financial Times, 3rd May 2014

“Osborn sings with appreciable technical command and dramatic insight. So does Cecilia Bartoli, once again in shining form...That the piece stands up so well is due not only to the cast and production; credit is also due to Muhai Tang, who certainly knows how to make Rossini's score sound vital and dramatically engaged.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 ****

Presto Discs of 2014


GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2014

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Decca - 0743863

(DVD Video)


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Porpora: Farinelli Arias

Porpora: Farinelli Arias


Mira In Cielo (from Arianna e Teseo)

Si pietoso il tuo labbro (from Semiramide Riconosciuta)

Come nave in ria tempesta (from Semiramide Regina dell'Assiria)

Placidetti zeffiretti (from Polifemo)

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo)

Alto Giove (from Polifemo)

La gioia ch'io sento (from Mitridate)

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo)

Le limpid’onde (from Ifigenia in Aulide)

Dolci freschi aurette...Nell'attendere il mio bene (from Polifemo)

Nel già bramoso petto (from Ifigenia in Aulide)

Dall'amor piu sventurato (Orfeo)

Sente del mio martir (from Orfeo)

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“I’d be surprised if Farinelli’s voice was any more astonishing than the countertenor Philippe Jaroussky...The Venice Baroque Orchestra supplies zesty backing” The Times, 5th October 2013 ****

“Does Jaroussky's sweet soprano capture the elemental intensity of a real castrato? We will never quite know, but seven world premiere aria recordings here expand our understanding of Porpora's skill.” The Observer, 6th October 2013 ***

“Jaroussky's rapid passagework in quick heroic arias is precise...but the outstanding moments are slow arias that could have been tailor-made for Jaroussky's sweetly graceful melodic singing...Marcon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra produce admirable sentimental finesse or gutsy brilliance as required.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“Jaroussky may not yet scale the extravagant heights of [Fagioli or Hansen], but there are signs that he too is exploring more extreme vocal techniques: an excursion into ‘man-voice’ here, a stratospheric flourish there.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 9th September 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted - Recital

Erato - 9341332



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Steffani: Stabat Mater

Steffani: Stabat Mater


Stabat Mater

Beatus Vir

world premiere recording

Non Plus Me Ligate

world premiere recording

Triduanas A Domino

world premiere recording

Laudate Pueri

world premiere recording

Sperate in Deo

world premiere recording

Qui Diligit Mariam

world premiere recording

“La Bartoli sings as enthrallingly as ever, and with this new CD reasserts her place as No.1 in the international diva firmament.” Financial Times Germany on Mission

Cecilia Bartoli’s exploration of the music of Steffani continues on from her best-selling recording ‘Mission’ with an album of the celebrated Stabat Mater alongside Steffani’s greatest sacred works for chorus, orchestra and soloists, constituting the most comprehensive collection of Steffani’s sacred choral music on CD.

Bartoli leads an array of internationally celebrated singers including countertenor Franco Fagioli, the bass Salvo Vitale and the two young German tenors Daniel Behle and Julian Prégardien.

Diego Fasolis conducts the authentic instrument forces of I Barocchisti and the chorus of RSI Lugano

Steffani’s Stabat Mater is his masterpiece, completed shortly before he died in 1728. It has been described as the most powerful expression of his religious fervour and, at almost half an hour, the largest-scale, most complex and heartfelt of his compositions outside his operas. The opening solo “Stabat Mater dolorosa” featured on the ‘Mission’ DVD.

The album is completed by six world premiere recordings of the best of Steffani’s remaining sacred music, including Sperate in Deo and Laudate Pueri. These are scored for orchestra, chorus and soloists featuring two young baroque-specialist sopranos Nuria Rial and Yetzabel Arias Fernandez alongside Behle, Pregardien and Vitale.

Also amongst these world premieres is Non plus me Ligate, a seven-minute solo motet for Cecilia Bartoli.

“the choir of Radiotelevisione Svizzera is disciplined in the concise yet impressive eight-part Beatus vir and short antiphon Triduanas a Domino” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“a gorgeous disc: lovely music, delightfully sung, splendidly played and very well recorded.” International Record Review, March 2014

Decca - 4785336



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Haydn: Armida

Haydn: Armida

Cecilia Bartoli (Armida), Christoph Prégardien (Rinaldo), Patricia Petibon (Zelmira), Oliver Widmer (Idreno), Scot Weir (Ubaldo), Markus Schäfer (Clotarco), Herbert Tachezi (harpsichord & organ)

Concentus musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

“[Bartoli] remains the finest thing about this set, and Armida brings out the best in her as a performer. Her tone is ravishingly beautiful when it needs to be...but when she is required to turn on the vocal fireworks...she does so with thrilling precision and passion...Patricia Petibon gives Bartoli a real run for her money as the second lady.” MusicWeb International, 2nd October 2013

Warner Classics Das Alte Werk - 2564660471

(CD - 2 discs)


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Cecilia Bartoli sings Rossini Arias

Cecilia Bartoli sings Rossini Arias


Cruda sorte! Amor tiranno! (from L'Italiana in Algeri)

Pronti abbiamo...Amici in ogni evento...Pensa alla patria (from L'Italiana in Algeri)

Mura felici (from La donna del lago)

O patria...Di tanti palpiti (from Tancredi)

Assisa a' piè d'un salice (from Otello)

Stabat Mater: Fac ut portem Christi mortem

Se l'Italie contrade..Se per voi care ol torno (from La Pietra del paragone)

Nacqui all'affanno, al pianto...Non più mesta (from La Cenerentola)

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo)

Wiener Volkopernorchester, Giuseppe Patane

“[a] starry debut recital, from 1988, introduced Bartoli's Italianate mezzo - her technique and accurate coloratura mingled with earthy, sweet-sour tone.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2011 ****

Decca - Originals - 4782663



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Cecilia Bartoli: Sospiri

Cecilia Bartoli: Sospiri


Ah, non credea mirarti (from La Sonnambula)

with Juan Diego Flórez

Orchestra La Scintilla, Alessandro de Marchi

Casta Diva (from Norma)


Quel buon pastor son io

Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini


Requiem: Pie Jesu

Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia & Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Myung-Whun Chung

Franck, C:

Panis Angelicus

with Cinzia Maurizio, Luigi Piovano & Daniele Rossi


Sposa non mi conosci (from Merope)


Lascia la spina (from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno)

Les Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski


Voi che sapete (from Le nozze di Figaro - Vienna version)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado

La ci darem la mano (from Don Giovanni)

with Bryn Terfel

Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Myung-Whun Chung

Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, K339: Laudate Dominum

Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia & Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Myung-Whun Chung


Cari Giorni

Orchestra La Scintilla, Adam Fischer


Una voce poco fa (from Il barbiere di Siviglia)

International Chamber Soloists & Orchestra La Scintilla, Adam Fischer


Gelido in ogni vena (from Il Farnace, RV711)

Cecilia Bartoli is loved the world over for vocal fireworks and spectacular coloratura, but she is also adored for her spine-tingling pianissimi and her ability to shape endless, velvety phrases. For the first time, this product will focus on the irresistibly sensual side of Cecilia Bartoli's art. It has been conceived as a popular “mood” or lifestyle compilation — presenting quieter arias showcasing Cecilia's vocal beauty, sensuality and emotion. “Sospiri” is designed to present this most accessible aspect of Cecilia Bartoli's art to the broadest popular-classical market.

“Sospiri” will contain favourite arias by Mozart and Handel, bel canto jewels by Bellini and Rossini and treasures by Vivaldi as well as music which Cecilia Bartoli has “rediscovered” on her recent record-breaking solo albums.

For Cecilia’s existing fans, the Prestige Edition includes a previously unreleased aria and world premiere recording of Vinci’s Cervo in bosco, one of Farinelli’s calling card arias.

Both formats include a new interpretation of Rosina's aria Una voce poco fa, from Il Barbiere di Siviglia - the dazzling aria of young love, the role in which Cecilia Bartoli first shot to international stardom. She infuses this new interpretation with all her knowledge of the baroque and classical tradition on which Rossini’s music was founded, her experience of period practice and critical reading of the manuscripts, together with a playfulness and variety of colors which she has acquired over the years. On this track recorded during the Maria sessions Cecilia Bartoli is accompanied by a fantastic period practice orchestra, Orchestra La Scintilla.

Decca - 4782558



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