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Mission / Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Agostino Steffani [Deluxe hardcover limited edition]

Album Summary

>Steffani, Agostino : Alarico il Baltha, cioe L'audace re de' Gothi
>Steffani, Agostino : Servio Tullio
>Steffani, Agostino : Niobe, regina di Tebe
>Steffani, Agostino : Tassilone
>Steffani, Agostino : Work(s)
>Steffani, Agostino : La superbia d'Alessandro
>Steffani, Agostino : Alarco il Baltha
>Steffani, Agostino : La liberta contenta
>Steffani, Agostino : I trionfi del fato
>Steffani, Agostino : La lotta d'Hercole con Acheloo
>Steffani, Agostino : Le rivali concordi
>Steffani, Agostino : Henrico Leone
>Steffani, Agostino : Marco Aurelio
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

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 of 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 carious 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.

Steffani's story is mysterious at the very least; his name is largely absent form studies of Italian music despite senior court positions during his lifetime and contemporary accounts acknowledging his as "one of the greatest opera composers of the period and the acknowledged master of the vocal duet.

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 center 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 an selection of duets, alongside the Coro della Radio television Svizzera, the period orchestra I Barrocchisti 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.

Financial Times, October 2012
She sweeps through 25 numbers flexing her well-rehearsed vocabulary of flighty fioritura, expressive mannerism and tender vocalita. The melting duets with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky are worth hearing.

Sunday Times, October 2012
Bartoli's programming instincts are immaculate in terms of musical and emotional variety; she is compelling in pearly arioso and slow numbers, less so in bravura ones.

The Times, September 2012
Steffani's art is elegantly expressive, Italianate with French dressing...Several brazen display arias are here...Bartoli leaps around the vocal ladder with customary gusto and a rather too vigorous vibrato. The pleasures are subtler when the music is simpler and the voice quieter...Notte amica, say, from La Liberta contenta, or the silky caress of Sfere amiche...These two tracks were definitely worth Bartoli shaving her head.

New York Times, 23rd November 2012
Among the opera arias Ms. Bartoli dug up in the archives are some treasures, hypnotic, slow numbers in which voice and accompanying strings circle each other like spinning planets and jubilant vehicles for her rapid-fire coloratura singing. Mr. Fasolis stokes the fire with an impetuous period-instrument ensemble.

The Times, 5th October 2012
Her silvery tone and searching musicianship ensure maximum intelligence and beauty...[Golan and Brovtsyn] play with Jansen as if joined at the hip. Whether the music's fiery or delicate, this superb disc, gorgeously recorded, should give lasting pleasure.

Sunday Times, 7th October 2012
Jansen's playing is utterly beautiful and intelligently searching.

The Telegraph, 19th October 2012
[Jurowski] judges the variety of weight and the palette of colour in the orchestral sonority ideally, and is ready with the essential instrumental dialogues with the soloist in the finale. The concerto is not exactly under-represented in the catalogue, but this penetrating, luminous and dynamic interpretation is one to linger over.

The Arts Desk, 24th November 2012
This is an intelligent, challenging anthology, unafraid to show us Prokofiev's underappreciated darker side. Beautifully recorded too.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2013
This splendidly recorded performance of the Second Concerto accentuates its stark and sudden contrasts...In the Sonata for two violins, Jansen and Brovtsyn employ a wide range of tone colour, matching each other in expansiveness and virtuosity.

BBC Music Magazine, January 2013
Jansen is the most subtle of interpreters, and always a sensitive partner. In the Second Violin Concerto, she keeps sentiment at bay...She responds cannily to Prokofiev's pared-back orchestral forces. This is not the usual patchwork of ideas, but an argument that Vladimir Jurowski keeps urgently on the move with the LPO soloists...Jansen's colleagues in the companion pieces are her equals, too.

BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012
Bartoli's plummy mezzo soars, smoulders and seduces, milking the music's vocal and expressive scope to dramatic effect. It's hard to resist her sparkling personality and infectious passion for this repertoire...the animated playing of I Barocchisti enhance the sheer theatre and scale of Steffani's talent...this is truly a revelatory disc.

Gramophone Magazine, December 2012
Bartoli is to be both congratulated and thanked for this project...Her dazzlingly virtuoso and urgently expressive performances betoken nothing less than total commitment, with every single aria delivered with as much dramatic intensity and focus as if it had been lifted straight from a fully staged production...it is hard to know what more one could ask for.

International Record Review, December 2012
I can't think of another singer who brings such variety of colour, nuance and pathos to slow numbers...Bartoli's performance of the more bravura numbers...is more questionable...Vocal fireworks have always been essential weapons in the Bartoli armoury, but they are now sounding rusty...I don't want to end on a negative note, as there is much to admire and even love here...'Mission' is in every sense a collector's item.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Auditorio Stelio Molo, Radio Svizzerea Italia, Lugano, (11/2011-03/2012).



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Works Details

>Steffani, Agostino : Alarico il Baltha, cioè L'audace re de' Gothi :: Schiere invitte, non tardate
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Ensemble: I Barocchisti
  • Running Time: 2 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Steffani, Agostino : Servio Tullio :: Ogni core può sperar
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 4 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Niobe, regina di Tebe :: Ove son? Chi m'aita? In mezzo all'ombre... Dal mio petto
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 5 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Tassilone :: Più non v'ascondo
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1709

>Steffani, Agostino : Niobe, regina di Tebe :: Amami, e vederai
  • Performers: Rosario Conte (Lute); Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 6 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Niobe, regina di Tebe :: T'abbraccio, mia Diva... Ti stringo, mio Nume
  • Performers: Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor); Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Work(s) :: Mie fide schiere, all'armi! (from I trionfi del fato) / Suoni, tuoni, il suolo scuota (f
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 3 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Steffani, Agostino : Tassilone :: Sposa, mancar mi sento... Deh non far colle tue lagrime
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 5 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1709

>Steffani, Agostino : La superbia d'Alessandro :: Non prendo consiglio
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 1 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Alarco il Baltha :: Sì, sì, riposa, o caro... Palpitanti sfere belle
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 3 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Steffani, Agostino : La libertà contenta :: Notte amica al cieco Dio
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 3 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : I trionfi del fato :: Combatton quest'alma
  • Performers: Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor); Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Tassilone :: A facile vittoria
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1709

>Steffani, Agostino : La superbia d'Alessandro :: Tra le guerre e le vittorie
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 1 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : La libertà contenta :: Foschi crepuscoli
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Niobe, regina di Tebe :: Dell'alma stanca a raddolcir le tempre... Sfere amiche, or date al labbro
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 6 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : La lotta d'Hercole con Acheloo :: La cerasta più terribile
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1689

>Steffani, Agostino : Niobe, regina di Tebe :: Serena, o mio bel sole... Mia fiamma... Mio ardore
  • Performers: Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor); Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Tassilone :: Dal tuo labbro amor m'invita
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1709

>Steffani, Agostino : La libertà contenta :: Deh stancati, o sorte
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 3 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : La libertà contenta :: Svenati, struggiti, combatti, suda
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 3 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta

>Steffani, Agostino : Tassilone :: Padre, s'è colpa in lui
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 5 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1709

>Steffani, Agostino : Le rivali concordi :: Timori, ruine
  • Performers: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano); Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 1 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1692

>Steffani, Agostino : Henrico Leone :: Morirò fra strazi e scempi
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 2 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1689

>Steffani, Agostino : Marco Aurelio :: Non si parli che di fede
  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Diego Fasolis
  • Running Time: 1 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta