Play album in Library Get the free Amazon Music app for iOS or Android to listen on the go.
Your Amazon Music account is currently associated with a different marketplace. To enjoy Prime Music, go to Your Music Library and transfer your account to (US).
Buy Used
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by eastwestmedia
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Comes in original case with artwork, no scratches. Fast shipping by Amazon!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

Cecilia Bartoli - Gluck Italian Arias ~ Dreams & Fables

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
Audio CD, September 25, 2001
$4.19 $0.01

There is a newer version of this title:

Gluck: Italian Arias
In Stock.

Editorial Reviews

On this recording of eight unfamiliar arias by Gluck, Cecilia Bartoli once again demonstrates her peerless vocalism and communicative power. Using texts by Pietro Metastasio, the leading librettist of his day, from whose poetry the disc's title is taken, Gluck composed music of heartwarming and heartbreaking beauty. The arias encompass an infinite variety of style, mood, character, and expression, and Bartoli's mastery of them is complete. The sheer beauty of her voice and her consummately effortless coloratura are unique: endless cascading runs, ranging from below the staff to high D's and E-flat's, flow out flawlessly placed and articulated, like strings of perfect, shining pearls. But what makes her singing so fascinating and unforgettable is Bartoli's ability to color and change her voice to fit the music, going in an instant from lighthearted parody to tempestuous fury, half-mad desperation, and lamentatious pleading. Equally captivating is her ability to create real characters by purely vocal means. The pyrotechnics are stunning, the fiery outbursts thrilling, but it is the slow, lyrical, inward arias that are most moving and memorable. She can spin out a long melody like a golden thread, with a focused, centered sound and a concentrated intensity of expression that cast an irresistible spell over ear and heart. Most of these arias are in da capo form, but she ornaments the repeats freely and imaginatively without becoming excessive. The Berlin Academy for Ancient Music, playing on period instruments tuned to a low A, supports her with a wonderfully clear, transparent sound and great stylistic empathy. --Edith Eisler


In the immediate aftermath of the release of her album of Vivaldi opera seria arias I met Cecilia Bartoli in Berlin when she explained the concept of her next operatic recital on disc: it was to be the unknown 'Italian' Gluck and she wondered aloud how hard she would have to fight the powers that be at Decca to avoid including 'Che faro senza Euridice' in her programme. Well maybe it wasn't such a struggle after all – Orfeo in any case is probably a mite too low for the mezzo with soprano ambitions today – for there is nothing remotely 'popular' here, not even the ubiquitous 'O del mio dolce ardor' from Paride ed Elena (whose male title role Bartoli must surely take when this neglected masterpiece gets a much-needed, 'historically informed' new recording).No, Bartoli has gone for the virtually unknown Gluck and it is entirely characteristic of this evangelizing singer that she delves deep into repertoire often regarded as hopelessly old-fashioned. The linking figure here is Pietro Metastasio, court poet to the Austrian Empress Maria Therese and the author of countless opera seria librettos set by a multitude of composers, among whom Handel and Gluck figure most prominently. It has been standard practice to dismiss the Metastasian libretto as irredeemably ancien régime and untheatrical, but in these eight scenes from six Gluck settings, Bartoli brings to our attention some music of outstanding lyrical beauty and thrilling dramatic temperament, ideally suited to her voice and personality. I should perhaps qualify 'the unknown Gluck': those familiar with his late French operas and his chef-d'oeuvre among them, Iphigenie en Tauride, will recognize Sesto's 'Se mai senti spirarti sul volto' ('If you feel a breath on your face') as the source for 'Oh malheureuse Iphigenie'. Berenice's aria 'Perche se tante siete' from Antigono was the likewise model for the heroine's 'Je t'implore et je tremble' ('I implore you and tremble') – Gluck 'borrowed' the melodic idea from the Gigue in J. S. Bach's Partita No. 1 and he had previously recycled it for use in his opera Telemaco (I am grateful to the Gluck authority, Max Loppert, for this information).Decca claims six first recordings (actually five, according to Loppert) but Bartoli sings all the music here as if it were fresh off the page, not merely dusted down from the library shelf (the scholarly research and the essay in the sumptuously produced booklet is by Bartoli's friend and companion, Claudio Osele, who has influenced her forays into pre-Classical music). She is particularly in her element in the passionate, furioso outbursts of wronged women. Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito is an even angrier figure than her counterpart in Mozart's version, Gluck's setting of the words even more illustrative of her vacillating extremes of emotion than Mozart's in his well-known concert aria, while Berenice sounds further at the end of her tether than in Haydn's famous concert setting of her scena. Bartoli never does anything by halves and, no doubt, there will be those among her growing band of detractors who will nit-pick about the occasionally aspirated run, the odd harsh note in extremis, and her tendency to make a meal of certain words. Against these (arguable) faults there is the ravishing beauty of her tone – utterly gorgeous in the 'Lyre' song from Il Parnaso confuso (which Gluck wrote for the Empress's children, including Marie-Antoinette, later his patroness when she became Queen of France) and the thrilling clarity of diction and emotional intensity she brings to the wonderful accompanied recitatives – an 'Italian' Gluck speciality, evidently much to Bartoli's liking. And aspirated or not, she uses coloratura, like Callas, as a means of expression. To my ears, at least, she brings these characters to life as no other contemporary singer could and she is brilliantly supported by the (conductor-less) Akademie für Alte Musik who are audibly as carried away as the singer by the splendour of Gluck's music. On its own terms, this is a stupendous achievement, superbly recorded: let's hope it presages more Gluck from Bartoli. She could start with his Vitellia: she's clearly fascinated by this scheming, raging anti-heroine. Hugh Canning -- From International Record Review - subscribe now
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
Play in Library $0.99
Play in Library $0.99
Play in Library $0.99
Play in Library $0.99
Album Only
Play in Library $0.99
Album Only
Play in Library $0.99

Product Details

  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli
  • Orchestra: Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
  • Conductor: Bernhard Forck
  • Composer: Christoph Willibald Gluck
  • Audio CD (September 25, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00005ND3K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,857 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
We have been visiting this page ever since the recording was released, expecting to find a flood of enthusiastic reviews. The CD seems to sell very well though and that's what really matters, but the relative silence of reviewers is surprising. One of the reasons behind it may be the simple fact that Bartoli's new disc is really difficult to write about. Yes, it is beautifully produced, with the booklet richly illustrated and filled with fantastic liner notes (really WORTH reading along with the arias!) by Bartoli's boyfriend and collaborator Claudio Osele. And yes, it is gorgeously sung and equally gorgeously played (an improvement since the Vivaldi disc where the orchestral accompaniment was too rough). But how to describe the music, especially when so much of it hasn't been performed since the 18th century and it is impossible to refer the potential buyer to existing recordings, however obscure. Of course, the Vivaldi disc posed the same problem, but there the composer's name - familiar to so many - combined with Bartoli's reputation guaranteed its success. Gluck never enjoyed this kind of popularity and even among real opera aficionados it is hard to find those who are familiar with his works except the ubiquitous "Orfeo ed Euridice". And yet, Gluck's place in the history of opera is much more important than Vivaldi's - he was the great reformer, the man who transformed Baroque opera into Classical. But perhaps this very quality of being a transitional figure, neither wholly Baroque nor wholly Classical (plus his cosmopolitanism - he was a Bohemian who wrote operas in Italian, French and German for most of the major European cities) has made him difficult to fit into any category.Read more ›
Comment 19 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on October 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This CD is arguably an even greater achievement than Ms Bartoli's Vivaldi Album. The Amazon reviewer's assessment is correct in that the best passages are not necessarily those that demonstrate the greatest "technical" virtuosity (though that is plainly evident in Ms Bartoli's typically amazing coloratura runs). Rather, some of the more restrained and plaintiff passages--particularly in the 11-minute "Se mai senti spirarti sul volto" (La Clemenza di Toto)--achieve precisely what Gluck and Metastasio aim to achieve: that is, a sublime, "equal-footed" marriage between poetry and music.
No matter her technical merits in the area of range, trill, vibrato, etc., Ms Bartoli is at her best, in my opinion, when tackling more deliberate, contemplative vocal passages (rather than fast, nervous "runs"--think "Amarilli" from Live In Italy, which reduces me to a puddle every time). In such a context, Ms Bartoli's voice imbues the music she sings with a warm, amber quality, and the characters she plays with an extra poignancy. A great CD--and a delightful introduction to Gluck, who up to now was a relative unknown to me.
Comment 38 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Audio CD
Cecilia Bartoli haws been my favorite (mezzo? soprano? singer!) for years now so it didn't surprise anyone who knows me that I got this CD as soon as it was released and play at least some of it nearly every day. What was a surprise was the fact that so many of my non-opera-loving friends now own this.
Gluck is treated here to a thoughtful, vivacious, and totally wondrous revival of some of his too-long-neglected works...(something the world experienced previously with Cecilia's "Vivaldi Album") and, as usual, the performances are imbued with a spirit and depth which only an artist of Bartoli's talent can achieve.
From the opening trumpets on "Tremo, fra dubbi miei" to the consummate beauty of voice in the closing aria, " Berenice, che fa?" Bartoli and The Akademie fur Ault Musik take us on a journey through some of the most beautiful music (and poetry) any of us is likely to hear.
In a year with some excellent vocal recordings, Bartoli was awarded her second consecutive Grammy for this effort. And just like last year, the voters hit the mark. So does Cecilia.
Comment 22 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Audio CD
I have watched with dismay the shrinking of the sphere of classical music. First it was the loss of WFLN, Philadelphia's classical music station. It is hard to imagine a major city with no full-time classical music radio station, but... welcome to Philadelphia. Having moved to Paris, I am surrounded by a wealth of classical music; reasonably priced concerts in many churches, featuring vocal and orchestral and instrumental works of an infinite variety. There are several classical radio stations.
However, the signs of shrinkage are appearing here as well. I have watched the large classical area of the Virgin Megastore on the Champs Elysées shrink multiple times. There is no longer a separate room, and the range of choices has been radically reduced. Their store in the Carrousel du Louvre still features a reasonable selection, and it is there that I found this CD yesterday.
OK, off my soap box. This CD is a delight for me. Discovering "lost" works such as these is one thing that keeps classical music alive. These elegant, stirring works of Gluck will transport you back to the glory and power of the 18th century. The glorious voice of Cecelia Bartoli suits these works perfectly. This is music that will transport you, lift you, embrace you, transform you. It is heavenly music that warms the soul.
I highly recommend this CD. The packaging is outstanding, with informative and well-written liner notes. If you want a brief escape from the hassles of modern life, or if you simply want to swim of the glory of sublime music in the hands of a superb artist, this CD will serve you well.
Comment 14 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Look for Similar Items by Category

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: blues project