November 27, 2013

Dutch and Belgian reviews of Amsterdam and Brussels concerts

They are going to be posted here by Ton. For whatever reason he cannot add new threads.


  1. Yes, I am somehow not able at my PC to create a new post, so I had to ask Charlotte.

    As one can find in the Reviews/articles section of this Forum, there are quite a few reviews of the Viennese Classics concerts and good ones.
    The Dutch newspapers always had reviews and always quite positive. I always found 5 reviews (NRC, Volkskrant, NRC, Trouw, Telegraaf).
    This year it is different though. Just 2 reviews (NRC and Het Parool) plus De Standaard for Belgium
    and not that positive at all.
    NRC gave 5 stars but did not write much.
    Het Parool and De Standaard gave 3 stars and had very mixed feelings about the concerts
    I will translate parts so that one can read quite different reviews than usual and I'd be curious what fans have to say about it. I can't agree but every opinion is interesting and Cecilia does not dislike controversy either.

    Bartoli is always perfect but also always predictabe.

    CB is one of the superstars, righteously because she has a beautiful voice and knows how to express emotions the way her audience loves.
    There is also a dark side to this success: that it is so terribly boring. Bartoli is always good but also always the same. Our last year's review would well fit again in this paper today.
    Friday she sang Mozart and last year Steffani but the way she brings these so very different composers is mainly presented in her very own musical personality.
    In the past it was fresh, fiery and very perfect what she served us. Now it is mostly perfect and predictable what happens when she takes the stage, as we wrote last year.
    Mozart sounded beautiful but it was mostly cold fire what was glowing. But like last year there was ONE very striking moment ,when Myslivecek was being sung tragically.
    There are better orchestras than the Kammerorchester Basel.

    Sublime voice, bad theatre.

    Bartoli's star status is more than deserved.She is without doubt the queen of coloratura.
    "Larger than life" is what you will think when you see her on stage.
    And may be she also thinks that way herself, sometimes.
    Who closed their eyes,experienced a gripping musical adventure with sublime vocal expression
    The visual spectacle was rather nerve-wrecking though. the exaggerated gestures and the costume change Bartoli reminded us of Michael Jackson: extremely good but also kitsch as hell.
    The way she looks upward to the sky, drawing her eye brows into the air, her dark looks over the audience and, heaven forbid, letting her body sob in the final notes of "Berenice": in the theatre world this would mercilessly be hammered down as "overacting", And may be we should. Because dont Haydn's and Mozart's music become just a bad puppet play this way?
    In the end one does not believe a single bit of this whole performance.:
    And still she is the best singer we know.
    2 stars for performance , 4 for the music, so 3 in total.
    The orchestra was not playing very great.

    Any comments??

    About the concert: afterwards she signed autographs but much shorter than before (less people). just as long as other singers, a bit more than an hour. Are people getting tired of her? Or was the audience different in this subsciption concert?
    As always she took her time, was very keen on the contact and in very good mood smiling,.laughing, willing to make pictures with us fans .
    The end was at 00.20 H.


  2. Thank you very much Ton!

    Actually, I do think people are getting tired of her. Bartoli is on stage for such a long time now! More than 20 years! First of all, there are many people who don't like her singing in the first place. Then there is this new group of people who have gotten tired of her. I think those people prefer Didonato now, for she is new and fresh. And of course there is still the group of people who like Bartoli.

    I don't mind bad reviews, but these ones are pretty lame. Of course it's just an opinion, but I can't take it serious when someone compares Bartoli's outfits to Michael Jacksons. I don't think she looked kitsch at all.

    And about the ''bad'' theatre. She was on fire when singing Berenice, and the dutch audience loved it! We all believed her performance.

    Thanks for posting Ton!

    BTW. I have filmed some pieces from the concert, you can watch them on my channel:

    1. Thanks for those videos. I do feel bad in my heart when a read unfair or negativ critique about Cecilia, because she is the greatest mezzo ever, and no one is even close to her in talent. I think as some of you has wrote, the audience wasn't good or the rigth one. The videos showed that she still is the greatest mezzo ever!

  3. Many thanks Ton for translating. I would say such critics are predictable, and not Bartoli who has done so much unexpected research for more than ten years, which is unique in itself. The critics are boring for sure, and not Bartoli who is so exhilarating. Now, that Bartoli is always the same Bartoli is obvious, and it applies to all singers alike, but Bartoli is endowed with so many lyric moods or feelings which are far from being always the same. Again, if Bartoli’s Mozart is “cold fire” that needs heat, then all concert halls might get burned if she becomes more fiery. Those who speak of “overacting” are nothing but overspeakers, and I don’t believe a single bit of their meaningless prattlings.

  4. You really think, people get tired of Cecilia? On what account do you think that?
    Those people, who never liked her in the first place don't count anyway, those, who jump from one favourite singer to another after a couple of years might not be that big a group really. And as Verena's book just recently showed, she can still enlighten newer generations.
    I think, that anyone, who has experienced and after experiencing liked her and followed her over several years or even decades (20 years is not such a long time in the end) never lost that feeling of being totally overwhelmed by her art. Especially this concert showed, what a long way she went in the last 20 years as she sang all those arias, she has done in the beginning of her career or not sung for 10 years now. Cecilia is the best we have !!!
    If reviewers have no ideas anymore, they write stupid things. Of Cecilia being predictable and boring, because she is always the same. If that reviewer would have had an ear for her music, he/she would have noticed, that the only thing predictable or reliable , to use a positive word, is Cecilia's highest standards, when it comes to music. Not being moved by this program is almost impossible for a sensible person.
    The "overacting" part of the review is nonsense, too. She not only sings and acts for the first two rows, you have to feel her in the same intensity 20 rows away ,too .That is true even more so for opera houses, that might be bigger than the Concertgebouw.
    About the Amsterdam concert, though, I can say, it was different than any of the others I have experienced there. The audience was not one, that chose to see Cecilia specifically, but bought a subscription that included other singers too. I never had such an inattentive audience there like this time. The applause mostly came too fast (exception was Se mai senti) right into the last note , not giving Cecilia time to return, they were talking sometimes during arias, at the start of almost all instrumental parts, I heard 2000 people still whispering and flapping through theirs programs, it felt like being in a central station. Cecilia must have noticed the difference, cause in the end, she brought the house down with the most intense, emotional and powerful Berenice, I have ever witnessed.
    After her wonderful, brilliant and moving last project and people's reaction to it all over Europe and the world and after the unbelievable and deeply human Norma, she gave her breath and tears, I think, people are even more interested and full of enthusiasm than before and not a bit tired.
    Other than so many "stars" out there on the classical music market, she still not only has the vocal and emotional possibilities, but all the honesty, that characterized her art from the beginning of her career on. That's why people still believe her characters on the stage and are moved by it.

  5. Thank you, Klaus, you're speaking from my heart.

    Spencer, actually only the Dutch reviews are so negative - read the french ones concernig this tour and you will have the same unbelieving enthusiasm as usual. Even the Swiss newspapers were thrilled by her with some little reservations. And, just as Klaus said, think of the amazed reviews full of admiration after 'Norma' this summer - people are not at all tired of Cecilia, on the contrary, I think they are curious about what and how she will sing next.

    I think, the programme was quite demanding to the audience. For 'Berenice, che fai' you have to be able to go with her into that dramtical situation without the rest of the opera around, perhaps too much for some people. So they started yelling and applauding right after the last note, because they liked the show - not having noticed that Cecilia was honestly carried away by the music. No one of us can prove this, so let's just feel sorry for that reviewer that he missed a great moment.

  6. Thanks for the dutch reviews.
    Although I wasn't present and I don't agree with what they are saying that isn't specific about that evening, I do think there is some truth in it.
    I do believe she is a wonderful artist, unrivalled in what she does, but she is not one of the singers that finds a new voice in everey part she is singing. (Like it was said of Callas).
    No matter what she sings, her coloratura sounds always very much alike; perhaps on that level it is normal...?
    There is a uniformity in her singing, although for instance she, like no other singer, is able to fill both fast, coloratura pieces and slow tragic or sad ones, with emotion and meaning.
    But to hear fast singing from her has a certain uniformity about it.
    Maybe this uniformity is less in slower singing and as I have said above perhaps it goes with the high quality of the fast coloratura.
    The uniformity also means I do not find a huge difference in her Steffani in comparison to her Bellini.
    When she sings a fast phrase it could be either one.
    Perhaps that's only me not knowing enough about it, not being able to 'feel' the difference.

  7. Hello everyone, first I want to introduce myself, because I am new here and also kind of new in the “Cecilia Universe”: I am Koile and I am also part of the book Verena Verspohl created. Right now I have the pleasure (and it is an exquisite pleasure believe me ) to work myself through Cecilia`s career. I deeply respect all of you as being experts regarding Cecilia`s career or classical music in general. And I like being here!
    I wasn´t at the Amsterdam concert, so I can´t neither judge nor give you my impression. All I want to mention is my first thought, who came to my mind while reading the review (and I would like to add a human touch to this discussion here). For me it is not the question, are people tired of her; it is the question, how TIRED is she? And I mean “tire” literally. From the purely human point of view, watch Cecilia’s last 2 months and then ask; how can she be not being tired? This lifestyle is so demanding: travelling to China, Prague, Dresden, Paris and Amsterdam... The audience is “sucking” out her energy, wants to be entertained, wants to see and “feel” her after the performance. She is meeting hundreds of people, being charming, being nice.

    She is such a professional singer and she has such a unique technique, that´s why she can manage this with grace and dignity. Otherwise we would not speak of “perfection”. Perfection means to deliver a high standard quality, a promise she is giving to the audience: No matter what is going on with me, YOU get perfection. This is the difference between a good singer and a real star (in my opinion).
    And the press? You know, they write you up, they write you down. They love you today, they hate you tomorrow and with the next successful album or production, you are back again the queen of everything you can imagine.

    For me it is simple: the reporter just didn´t like the evening - and that´s it!

  8. Thanks Anonymous for your splendid writing. You are quite rigth, sometimes it is hard to imagine how hard it sometimes can be. to be a famous person like Cecilia.

  9. I found this on Cecilia's official site. Im glad they are releasing Otello too!

    In March 2014 Cecilia Bartoli’s recordings of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory and Otello will be released on Blu-ray and DVD.

    1. @spencergoemaat: we both saw it the same time :-)


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