Decca continues its cat and mouse game, urging Cecilia Bartoli fans to ‘investigate' her latest project, Mission. The new YouTube video with the second ‘clue' takes us inside Radio Svizzera Italiana's major recording studio, Auditorio Massimo. We see conductor Diego Fasolis and his players, Bartoli's dressing room, and a map of Turkey…
The titles of the music scores are all in code, but one contributor on the Cecilia Bartoli Forum has been investigating thoroughly. Sergei Belousov says,
The aria's first words are “Ogni core può sperar”… which suggests an aria of Tanaquil from the opera Servio Tullio by Agostino Steffani.
Steffani wrote the opera in 1686. He was also ordained as a priest, so that ties up with the cd cover. Surprisingly the scores of most of Steffani's compositions are preserved in the Royal Music Library in Buckingham Palace, where,” in company with five volumes of songs and three of duets, they form part of the collection brought to England by the Elector of Hanover in 1714, when ascending as King George I”, says Wikipedia.
Bartoli has already said that the new recording would be “on the wonderful music of a forgotten composer who led a secretive life”. This ties in well with Steffani too who, later in life, became a bishop, ambassador protonotary of the Holy See. In order to continue composing (an activity at odds with his high offices) he attributed his works to his secretary, Gregorio Piva.
Above is Bartoli pictured in the garb for the album cover with Donna Leon, an American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice, where she now lives. Steffani was from the Venice area too and, oh yes, Leon also has a passion for Baroque music…
Happy hunting can be found here where you can search for the first two clues.
P.S. Intriguingly we also see a page from Hans Werner Henze's opera Elegy for Young Lovers (Elegie für junge Liebende)., which is immediately dismissed by the film-maker. To throw us off-track? This 1960s piece has an English libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman, but the famous “Elegie” at the end of the opera is sung without words. Could this be on Bartoli's playlist? However the page shown on YouTube is from act one; so one of the duets maybe? Or maybe not.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.