The Salzburg Whitsun Festival opens on 17 May with a new Leiser and Caurier production of Norma starring the Festival's artistic director, Cecilia Bartoli. Leiser and Caurier revisit their beloved 1950s in the sombre palette of Italian neorealism.
La Ceci has insisted the musical side reflects Bellini's own era instead of reverting to post-Verdian cliche. Her digging around has resulted in a revised score that reverses habitual cuts. The casting of Norma and Adalgisa has been rethought, and Zurich Opera's period orchestra, La Scintilla, has been drafted in.
While researching Mission, her recent Agostino Steffani recording, Cecilia Bartoli discovered many of the composer's documents were taken to the Vatican on his death. Frustratingly, she couldn't get her hands on any of them. Speaking to journalist Ljubisa Tosic recently, she said "I definitely wasn't prepared to wait until the doors of the Vatican opened to me. The CD would probably still not have appeared." So she completed her Steffani investigations without a visit to the Holy See.
However her Vatican dreams are not yet over: "I believe there are still scores by Monteverdi undiscovered in the Vatican but it is not easy to get access to the documents. You need the right connections and as yet I don't have them".
La Scala's infamous loggionisti revealed they're still the least civilised audience in operadom at Cecilia Bartoli's first appearance there in 19 years last night.
Her concert with Daniel Barenboim and the La Scala orchestra went down well until the very end, when a small group in the upper galleries began booing and whistling and shouting“You don’t sing Rossini like this”, “Shame on you”, etc.
Graham Spicer, who was there, believes the attack was premeditated. Read his report (with photos) here.