The Phoenix’s Offspring
Giuseppe Verdi: Macbeth: Scena “Nel dì della vittoria io le incontrai...”, Cavatina “Vieni! T’affretta!” & Cabaletta “Or tutti sorgete”
Alexander Scriabin: Cinq Préludes, Op. 16: 2. Allegro – Huit Etudes, Op. 42: 4. Andante
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Shakespeare Songs, Op. 24: 26. “The Fool”
Franz Liszt: Aus Lohengrin, S. 446: 3. “Lohengrins Verweis an Elsa”
Richard Wagner: Lohengrin: “Einsam in trüben Tagen”
Gioachino Rossini: Péchés de vieillesse, Vol. XI (Miscellanée de musique vocale): 7. “Arietta all’antica da O salutaris hostia 'Mi lagnerò tacendo'” – Péchés de vieillesse, Vol. I (Album italiano): 3. “Tirana alla spagnola rossinizzata” & 12. “La passeggiata” – Sei arie inedite: 3. “Il risentimento” – Péchés de vieillesse, Vol. XIV (Autres péchés de vieillesse): 9. “Un rien (pour album)” – Il barbiere di Siviglia: Cavatina “Una voce poco fa”
Anastasia Bartoli (soprano), Cecilia Gasdia (piano)
C. Gasdia, A. Bartoli (© Amati Bacciardi Studio)
This was a most enjoyable recital that showed the versatility of the young soprano, Anastasia Bartoli. Her accompanist was no other than her mother and teacher, soprano Cecilia Gasdia, one of Italy’s most prominent sopranos in the 80s and 90s, and a major Rossini and bel canto singer.
While Gasdia was a versatile lyric soprano that could do coloratura repertoire with ease, Anastasia Bartoli is a budding lirico spinto soprano with the capacity of singing the coloratura bel canto repertoire, at least at this early stage of her career. That she proved in her excellent performance in Eduardo e Cristina during the Rossini Opera Festival.
The chosen repertoire of this recital reflects the repertoire Anastasia Bartoli presently sings. The encroachment into Rossini in Eduardo e Cristina is an oddity, possibly a homage to her mother’s career at the Pesaro Festival as well as a tour de force.
The diction in Lady Macbeth’s letter “Nel dì della vittoria io le incontrai...” revealed a great interpreter with a profound understanding of the role. Later in the cavatina “Vieni! T’affretta!”, she easily met the vocal challenges as well as the intense drama of the character. It was astounding to later hear her sing Elsa’s dream from Lohengrin, expressing the character’s tender nature, a total contrast with the dominant Lady Macbeth. Moreover, her diction in German was exemplary.
The accompanist proved herself to be an accomplished pianist, especially in the pieces by Scriabin where she showed both virtuosity and musicality. However, the piano pieces occupied too much of a portion of the recital. One wanted to hear more of the young Anastasia Bartoli.
The songs by Rossini were well executed, but somewhat lacking in charm. This was amended in Rosina’s aria from Il barbiere di Siviglia where Bartoli was charm personified. Her phrasing of “docile”, “mi lascio reggere”, “una vipera” was delightful, like a master jeweller handling gems. One rarely hears this aria sung by sopranos nowadays. When one does, it is with high coloraturas. Here we had a more substantial soprano voice sing the aria with a revelatory and delightful effect. This Rosina is no lightweight soubrette, but a determined woman, just as Anastasia Bartoli promises to be. This was definitely a memorable recital.
Ossama el Naggar