Today's Classical Music Video

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cecilia Bartoli's New Album "Mission"

Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli made news a few weeks ago when she returned to La Scala after an absence of 19 years. She was featured in a concert of operatic arias with Daniel Barenboim conducting the La Scala Philharmonic. For Bartoli's fans it was a great triumph, but for some others in the audience, not so much. In fact, the boos rained down on Bartoli from a well-organized group of detractors. Barenboim, who is La Scala's artistic director, was outraged but Bartoli took it all in stride.

Bartoli's latest CD release is called "Mission" and features music by the obscure Italian composer Agostino Steffani (1654-1728). Steffani's music is not well-known and seldom-recorded but he is an intriguing figure. He was not only a composer but also a priest and a diplomat. And, according to Bartoli, perhaps even a spy as well!

In this promotional video from Decca Bartoli talks about Steffani and the "Mission" project and we see her rehearsing some of the music from the CD. Another woman makes a brief appearance in this video. She is Donna Leon, an American who moved to Venice to teach and ended up becoming a famous writer of mysteries. Leon loves baroque opera too and manages to work Steffani into her latest book, "The Jewels of Paradise." For more on Donna Leon visit her website at More on Bartoli can be found at

Paul E. Robinson



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