Cecilia Bartoli, Mezzosopran

The online opera guide on Cecilia Bartoli

Read the short biography of Cecilia Bartoli and listen to highlights of her career. She is regarded as one of the best and commercially most successful opera singers of our time.


The ascent

Cecilia Bartoli was born on 4 June 1966 in Rome in a family of singers.

At 17 she began her musical studies at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 1985, at the age of 19, Cecilia Bartoli appeared in a talent show on Italian television. She only took second place, but still attracted attention. She made her debut at the age of 19 as Rosina in Rossini’s Barbier of Seville at the opera of her hometown. She specialized in Mozart roles and lesser known works from the Baroque and early Classical periods and quickly became internationally known.

Parto, Parto, Ma Tu Ben Mio (Titus)


In 1996 she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. The following year she sang the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola.

Non piu mesta (Cenerentola)


In later years she also sang roles like Norma.


Her voice

She is a coloratura mezzo-soprano with a dark, rich timbre.



She is regarded as one of the best and commercially most successful opera singers of our time (Wikipedia).

Kesting: “What distinguishes Cecilia Bartoli from most of today’s singers is her ability to paint a kaleidoscope of sensations in a chiaroscuro of colors, her boundless, exuberant sing lust, and her vocal imagination that makes word and music sensual and spiritual unity. [. . .] As a stage personality she is overwhelming. She has been called La Gioiosa, a singer who brings joy. [. . .] Singing as a liberated natural sound – that is the experience of happiness she conveys.


More highlights of Cecilia Bartoli’s records


A playful Voi che sapete from le nozze di figaro

Voi che sapete


From the same opera an urging Cherubino.

Non so piu cosa faccio


Una voce poco fa from the young Cecilia Bartoli

Una voce poco fa


In Cosi fan tutte Mozart offers us a wonderful portrait of Despina. She has learned in life that one cannot expect fidelity in love. So in her aria she plays with the word «fedeltà», repeating it three times with more and more coloratura, so that everyone who believes in it must appear as a naive person. In the second part, she laments with indignation that the men want to take the women for their pleasures with hypocritical tenderness, and finally she asks the women to pay the men back in the same coin.

This piece gives a Despina, at the height of her task, the opportunity to show in a short time the many comedic and vocal aspects of this short aria. Cecilia Bartoli solves this task with a wonderful mixture of charm, elegance and cunning. Pay attention to her played indignation in «non vi fate sentir per carità» or her mischievous facial play in «chieder pietà».

In uomini in soldati  –  Bartoli


See Cecilia Bartoli again in Cosi fan tutte at the age of 24 years in a television recording from the year 1990.

Una donna da qunidici anni  –  Bartoli


This seductive duet was written by Da Ponte with ambiguous verses, but Mozart seems to elude it. He writes another beautiful love duet with the beating hearts.

Listen to a wonderfully languishing, romantic Bryn Terfel in duet with Cecilia Bartoli.

Il cor vi dono  –  Bartoli / Terfel


The famous Duet from die Zauberflöte with Bryn Terfel and a stunning Cecilia Bartoli.

Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena – Terfel / Bartoli


From Don Giovanni: Cecilia Bartoli sings an agitated and combative Donna Elvira, with clenched fists she swears revenge…

Ah chi mi dice mai  –  Bartoli


Cecilia Bartoli sings the aria of Zerlina with a lot of mellifluousness and urgency.

Batti, batti o bel Masetto  –  Bartoli


In this second Aria from Zerlina we hear Cecilia Bartoli, for once tender, almost innocent. The second part is supernatural. How can Masetto not become weak with this throbbing heart and languishing female?

Vedrai carino  –  Bartoli


In this recording from Rossini’s Cenerentola you first hear the virtuoso coloraturas of Cecilia Bartoli, this great exceptional artist. Then the beautiful quintet “nel volto estatico” (6:30) unwinds. The quintet begins with a canon, and then changes into a beautiful contrapuntal quintet, which is first sung out very melodiously and then becomes more and more chaotic until total confusion is taking over.

Signora una parola (Quintett) – Bartoli / Dara / Corbelli / Mateuzzi


Cecilia Bartoli’s interpretation sparkles with her joy of singing. Apparently effortlessly she sings her way through this aria. For many Cecilia is the best Cenerentola on CD.

Nacqui all affano … non piu mesta  –  Bartoli


Mit verführerischen Flötenklang leitet Rossini die virtuose Arie der Isabella (“Italiana in Algeri”) ein. Die Gelegenheit für eine Schauspielerin/Sängerin ihre stimmliche Verführungskunst zu zeigen. Sie erleben im folgenden Video wie Cecilia Bartoli,  nur vom Schaum bedeckt, in der Badewanne das Lied schmachtet. Grossartig!

Per lui che adoro  –  Bartoli


Rossini hat für Isabella das Stück «pensa alla patria» geschrieben, ein patriotischen Appell an den Mut und das Geschick der Italiener das Wagnis zu bestehen. «Pensa alla patria» wurde 30 Jahre später einer der Volkshymnen des Risorgimento. Rossini wollte zur Kompositionszeit mit der Oper kein politisches Statement abgeben. Zwar unterstützte er in späteren Jahren ideell die griechische Freiheitsbewegung, schrieb aber auch eine Nummer für Napoleon III. Er kam in den vierziger Jahren von den Anhängern des Risorgimento unter Druck, nichts für die Bewegung zu tun. Rossinis Verweis auf die Komposition des “Pensa alla patria” wurde ihm aber von vielen als Ausrede angekreidet.

Musikalisch ist das Stück ein gekonntes Showstück der Isabella, mit dem die Solistin mit schwierigen Koloraturen den Applaus des Publikums einfordern kann. Wir hören in dieser Arie die bekannteste und renommierteste Rossini Sängerin unserer Tage, Cecilia Bartoli. Sie hat die Rolle der Isabella erst relativ spät für sich “entdeckt” (2018 in Salzburg), was erstaunt, denn ist Isabella doch vom Temperament her perfekt auf sie zugeschnitten.

Pronti abbiamo… Amici in ogni evento… Pensa alla patria  –  Bartoli


A beautiful, atmospheric duet from Handel’s Rinaldo.

Scherzano sul tuo volto  –  Bartoli / Daniels


Handel composed a beautiful effect by having the lively coloratura aria accompanied in unison by strings.

Bel piacere è godere fido amo 


Lascia ch’io pianga is one of the most famous arias by George Frideric Handel. He had already composed it in 1705, and transformed it into a lament aria for the opera Rinaldo. Händel managed to write an aria that is touching by its simplicity. Händel wrote the aria in the form of a sarabande, a triple measured dance with a stretching of the second bar. The combination with the typical chromaticism and the pause result in the famous sighing motif of Handel’s Lamentos.

The dark voice of Cecilia Bartoli languishes touchingly in the soul.

Lascia ch’io pianga  –  Bartoli






Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide on Cecilia Bartoli





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