Léonie Sonning Awards 2010

Cecilia Bartoli

2010 2014 Bartoli

The Italian mezzosoprano Cecilia Bartoli received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize at a concert held in Tivoli Concert Hall on 16 June 2010. She was accompanied by her regular chamber orchestra, La Scintilla (The Spark) – musicians from Zürich who play on original instruments. Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and her husband, prince Henrik, attended the concert.

The music prize was presented by Esben Tange, editor at Danmarks Radio.

The programme

Nicolò Porpora Sinfonia from Meride e Selinunte (1726)
  Come nave. Aria from Siface (1725)
Riccardo Broschi Chi non sente al mio dolore. Aria from Merope (1732)
Nicolò Porpora Overture to Germanico in Germania (1732)
Francesco M. Veracini Overture no. 6
Leonardo Vinci Cervo in bosco. Aria from Medo (1728)
Leonardo Leo Qual farfalle. Aria from Zenobia in Palmira (1725)
Francesco Araia Cadrò, ma qual si mira. Aria from Berenice (1734)


Nicolò Porpora Usignolo sventurato. Aria from Siface (1725)
Carl Heinrich Graun Misero pargoletto. Aria from Demofoonte (1746)
Alessandro Scarlatti Sinfonia di concerto grosso no. 5
Antonio Caldara Quel buen pastor. Aria from Componimento Sacro La morte d’Abel (1732)
Nicolò Porpora Overtures from Gedeone and Perdono, amata Nice (1746)
Leonardo Vinci Quanto invidio la sorte ... Chi vive amante
  Recitative and aria from Allesandro nell’ Indie (1730)
Nicolò Porpora Nobil onda. Aria from Adelaide (1723)


Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano
Orchestra La Scintilla, Zürich


The 2010 Léonie Sonning Music Prize is awarded to the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli as one of the greatest and most fascinating female singers the world has seen. Her technical brilliance is unsurpassed, her focus on neglected repertoire worthy of admiration and her stage charisma and ability to canalise her reserves of artistic energy and her sensual vocal primordial force to every member of the audience is quite unique.

Cecilia Bartoli in Denmark

Danes knew Cecilia Bartoli from concerts the year before the Sonning Music Prize – concerts held in both Århus and Copenhagen. In that connection, the Music Foundation made public the news that Bartoli was going to receive the music prize the following year. The day before she received the prize, Cecilia Bartoli gave a master class on 15 June at The Royal Danish Academy of Music with three young singers: Johannes Held, Julie Kold Vilstrup and Sophie Thing Simonsen – all accompanied at the piano by Ulrich Stærk.

Selected Music by Cecilia Bartoli

The daily press

wrote, among other things:

"She literally stormed into the stage, dressed as something that resembled a nobleman of 250 years ago: black, knee-length boots, black trousers and sleeveless jacket, white shirt with ruffles and the large cloack with blood-red lining that swirled around her. And at a run she flung away her hat. Bang! There she stood then: La Bartoli had landed."

(Jakob Wivel, Børsen)

"Making eyes and with heart ablaze, Cecilia Bartoli regales us, soon sliding below deck down into the deep, gutteral register and then up to the topmost gallant pennant of the high notes. One can never hope to experience anything like it anywhere else [...]"

(Peter Johannes Erichsen, Weekendavisen)

"The formidably fast, insanely precise sequences of notes explode like multicoloured rockets above the heads of the audience in the brimful Tivoli Concert Hall, where even all the standing room has been sold [...] Not only does the mezzo-soprano from Rome sing with a musicality, a wealth of colour and a precision that leaves behind her colleagues in a cloud of dust when she flings her vocal chords through the wildest operatic hairpin bends. She does so with a brillance that comes from a rare ability to enter one hundred per cent into the role she is assuming."

(Thomas Michelsen, Politiken)

"[...] These musty arias by Nicolò Porpora, Leonardo Leo, Francesco Araya etc. are on the whole piecegoods from buried surplus stock, but when they are brought to life in this quite literally unique way, they gleam and sparkle like pure gold [...] It was a self-abandonment to sensuality and seduction, a breathing technique almost contrary to nature, an exemplary, rhetorical treatment of the mother tongue. But where Bartoli perhaps came closest to the magic sound of the castrato was in the simple, slow arias, where she forced the fine Swiss Scintilla Orchestra to play always down under the floorboards and floated herself like a butterfly through the room."

(Valdemar Lønsted, Information)