Maria Malibran, like Pauline Viardot, was a daughter of the influential vocal pedagogue, Manuel García. In Halévy’s obscure Clari, composed for Malibran in 1828, Cecilia Bartoli, in whose vocal “footprint” she follows like a third Garcia sister born into another time, revives a work that dazzles like she does
This first recording may resurrect Clari onto the stages of the world, since this captivating tragicomedy’s beauties are floral, but unfading, in their allure. The story – an innocent suspected of infidelity by her fiancé – is familiar, but the score is wondrous treasure.
Bartoli’s Zürich Clari won unanimous hosannas. “We must bow down to la Ceci for locating this morsel . . . it requires a mezzo of superhuman abilities and three good octaves.” (Intermezzo).
Zürich Opera’s period instrument band La Scintilla contributes stylish support under Adam Fischer.
“Bartoli launches into 'T'arresta, or barbaro' with all the venom of the woman scorned, showing a power that one does not often hear from her. John Osborn matches her with strong vocalism...he completes the [Act Three] aria with a terrific top D... Adam Fischer draws lively playing from the orchestra in all aspects of this opera semiseria, and the contributions of the small chorus are well sung.”