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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italy's Bartoli Comes Home To Applause




ROME -- Named for the patron saint of music, Cecilia Bartoli has had a heavenly singing career nearly everywhere but Italy.


This week, the mezzo-soprano came home to Rome for the first time in three years. On Tuesday night she gave the final of three performances of Mozart and Rossini arias with the Santa Cecilia orchestra, with Myung-Whun Chung conducting.


It was a triumphal return. Audiences roared their approval, and critics applauded, too.


"The art of Cecilia Bartoli does not only consist of natural talent, but also stylistic awareness," said the Milan daily Corriere della Sera. "Technical agility. Wise use of dynamics. The phrasing is always tinged with the pleasure of giving [and receiving] emotion."


Bartoli has said she sings mainly abroad because that's where her career began, that's where her contacts are and that's where Mozart can be done best -- not in Italy.


Skeptics may say big careers aren't ever made in Italy.


At 32, she has made an astonishing 18 recordings and has garnered excellent reviews throughout her career, notably in the role of Cinderella in Rossini's "La Cenerentola" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York last fall. Her latest release, "An Italian Songbook," is a best-seller and Grammy nominee.


Bartoli's last appearance in Rome, where she was born and raised, was with Chung in a recital three years ago.