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Mission Deluxe Edition, Limited Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Deluxe Edition, Limited Edition, October 2, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Limited-edition 25K
Hardcover book presentation
172 page booklet (which will not be reproduced when the jewel version comes out later) including historical essay and complete album notes and libretto

Autumn 2012 marks the release of Mission, a sensational release from the world s best-selling classical artist Cecilia Bartoli and a project with international politics, religious conflict, diplomatic secrecy, spying and sensational music at its heart.
Following the exceptional artistic and commercial success of 2009 s Sacrificium (which earned Cecilia her fifth Grammy award), Cecilia Bartoli now turns to the early baroque period for the first time in her recording career and uncovers a treasure of beautiful music in an album almost entirely composed of world premiere recordings.

The album showcases the music of little-known Italian composer Agostino Steffani (1654 1728), and will include solo arias of various moods and styles, several duets, solo numbers with chorus - all sung in Italian - and instrumental interludes that create an organic transition from one piece to the next and an arc that reaches from the beginning to the end of the album.

Steffanis story is mysterious at the very least; his name is largely absent from studies of Italian music despite holding senior court positions during his lifetime and contemporary accounts acknowledging him as one of the greatest opera composers of the period and the acknowledged master of the vocal duet (Colin Timms, author of the booklet note).

Such was the appeal of the project that longtime Bartoli admirer and global best-selling author Donna Leon decided to write a mystery novel - Jewels of Paradise - to accompany Cecilia s album, which uses the mystery surrounding the composer s story as the centre of its plot. Jewels of Paradise will be released simultaneously with Cecilia Bartoli s album in English (UK and USA), German, French, Dutch, Spanish and Catalan.

Among the distinguished names appearing on Mission is star French counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky who features in a first-time collaboration with Cecilia on a selection of duets, alongside the Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, the period orchestra I Barocchisti from Lugano, Switzerland, and conductor Diego Fasolis.

A cinematographic vision of the album directed by Olivier Simonnet and filmed in the historic Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) and in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles will be available on DVD and for TV broadcast later in the year.
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Digital Booklet: Mission
Digital Booklet: Mission
Album Only

Product Details

  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky
  • Orchestra: I Barocchisti
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Composer: Agostino Steffani
  • Audio CD (October 2, 2012)
  • Deluxe ed. edition
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Deluxe Edition, Limited Edition
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B008LSSI4S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,755 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The "Mission" of this CD's title has two meanings. One is a reference to the fact that the composer, Agostino Steffani, was throughout his career a man of many missions; for not only was he a musician of genius, he was also a diplomat and priest whose royal and ecclesiastical employers entrusted him with many important tasks, demanding both travelling stamina and negotiating skills in equal measure. The second meaning refers to the mission Cecilia Bartoli has clearly set herself - to introduce, to those who don't already know it, the marvellous music of this long-neglected mid-baroque composer.

The programme consists of a dazzling variety of arias and other extracts from Steffani's operas - all of them originally produced in Hanover or in the other German states where this Italian composer spent his adult life. They are performed by the brilliant Ms Bartoli herself, joined for the duets by no less than Philippe Jaroussky, and supported with both grace and panache by the early-music ensemble I Barocchisti directed by Diego Fasolis. The first few items set the tone superbly, quickly impressing upon the listener the dramatic range of styles and moods of which Steffani was such a master. We start with the brassy, warlike brilliance of `Schiere invitte' from "Alarico il Baltha". It's followed by a lilting, chaconne-like aria of melting beauty and grace from "Servio Tullio", `Ogni core può sperar' (Every heart may hope; mine alone must weep), its instrumental accompaniment with its delicious solo passages ever so tenderly played and just as beautiful; and so here we have an altogether lovely demonstration of Steffani's feeling for word-setting and of his genius for the expression of human emotions - which for today's listeners are among the most enticing qualities of the baroque.
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By Bella on October 2, 2012
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I got this just a few hours ago, and already I am enchanted. It begins with the audiobook, a beautifully bound book with Bartoli's face staring out at you, charismatic as always. The contents are wonderful, pictures and articles with information that will enhance your understanding of Agostino Steffani, a greatly under known composer. By the time i reached for my computer to play the CD, i was already brimming with anticipation. I was not disappointed. The instrumentals are all lovely, the players have obviously given their best for this project. The vocals from all, not just Bartoli, are amazing. Each song is sung with energy and feeling. But the star is, of course, Cecilia Bartoli. The beauty and agility of her voice draws you in every time, in every song. As always, I am very pleased to have bought her album and wishing, as always, that there were more songs.
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Ms. Bartoli continues to reign as the supreme alto of our time. Her study and research in bringing this music to light is incredible. The "limited edition" packaging in well conceived and executed and full of details that further enhance the musical experience. For lovers of dramatic and fabulously performed music of the later 19th century, this is a disc that will reward generously!!
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She's on a mission to bring music back to life that hasn't been sung, as it should be sung, in 250 years! No "Vissi d'Arte" or "Un bel' di" from Bartoli (not that there's anything wrong with them...). E VIVA!
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Grazie mille to Cecilia Bartoli for rescuing Agostino Steffani from wholly undeserved obscurity. Every moment of music here is exquisite, and the supporting documentation is informative and delightful. If you love the Baroque and pre-Baroque, you will adore this.
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I didn't know Steffani's music until I heard this disc, and had ordered it in reliance on Cecilia Bartoli's reputation and my own prior experience of her singing. I have been delighted with the new experience the music represents. Bartoli's singing is, as usual, precise and quite outstanding.
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By MozartFX on January 27, 2014
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The packaging is as beautiful as the music. I love this CD. This is the reason I still buy CD's. The people at Decca have really outdone themselves. After reading the booklet (it's actually more like a book with wonderful photos), I think Agostino Steffani's life story would make a great movie. Thank you Decca, and Cecila Bartoli for this amazing piece of art and history.
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This is a terrific disc of arias by Steffani, a little-known baroque composer whom Cecilia Bartoli wants to bring to public attention. In my experience, little-known composers are often little-known for a very good reason, but not Steffani. Bartoli is right - his music is excellent and well worth bringing to light as she does here with a disc made up very largely of first recordings.

And what recordings they are! Bartoli is, as always, excellent. She has a stunning technical mastery and a deep understanding of the music and text she is singing, with the control to avoid spilling into over-emotional self indulgence. Her voice is beautiful, rich and sensuous and she uses it here to create something very special from Steffani's music. The orchestra are also excellent, giving the pieces real drama, passion or a joyous zing as appropriate, and to cap it all Bartioli is joined by the great countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in four duets. It is a pleasure from start to finish.

I am sorry to sound gushing - this disc has a provocative cover and has been very heavily marketed and promoted, which to me often means a rather ordinary product. Not here - this is a terrific CD of fine music, beautifully performed and is warmly recommended.
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