OC dissed some of the more fabulous Milan Fashion RTW Spring 2009 shows + parties yesterday to chillax instead with the Agile Queen herself, Cecilia Bartoli, and caravaned to Torino's Auditorium Giovanni Agnelli @ Lingotto, where la Ceci was performing as part of the MiTo festival -- Torino/Milano Festival Internazionale della Musica. The kewl thing is that the auditorium was located in a very Americanesque business center, boasting a full food court and gigantic stretches of concreted indoor space, and OC almost felt like she was back in some awesome movie like Heathers or Bring it On. Regardless, OC strutted her gorgeous a$$ through the mall in Gucci black suede booties, black Marni silk pants, two layered Helmut Lang sheer tank tops, and a cashmere/wool blend black vintage Joseph capelet. The standbye 1940s Gucci midollino purse and a fistful o' brass knuckles from smacking up the bytches. just playin.
For the recital, Cecilia Bartoli was appearing with the Orchestra La Scintilla dell'Opera di Zurigo, flaunting OC's favorite affectation -- period instruments. k thnx bi. Ok, at least they were gorgeous to look at, especially Robert Pickup's blond & red-lined clarinet, which he fingered for Donizetti's Andante sostenuto. It was a very Louboutin moment with that secksay red lining peeking out from the interior.
Ada Pesch was supposed to be the conductor/first violinist, but it was announced that she had broken her wrist in an accident and was being replaced by some other chick. Can you even imagine how much that would suck to break your wrist if you were la Ceci's first violinist? I'd just splint it up in a makeshift Alexander McQueen skullprint scarf, pop a few vicodin, and march my a$$ on stage. [edit: It has been since confirmed that Concertmaster Ada Pesch indeed sucked it up, marched her bandaged & broken wrist onto the stage like a pro...but handed the solos over to a substitute. We wish her a speedy recovery.]
The program was more or less an alternation of the orchestral ensemble playing a small interlude, scherzo, or ouverture, and then Ceci singing one of her Maria Malibran La rivoluzione romantica CD tracks. TBQH, we're not huge fans of the intellectual Malibran program that she's been doing in circuits for the last year. It's just too romantic for our more metal tastes. /m\/m\ But TBQH, we'll take live & uncut Ceci any way we can get her.
After the opening work by the ensemble, Ceci stepped out in a royalblue, princess-style, satin gown. The gown had a tight, sleeveless bodice, and a gigantic puff of a skirt which fell to the floor. As la Ceci walked off the stage and back she lifted the hem and glided as gracefully as a geisha with her little, sandal'd feet clacking like a baby duck. The skirt and bodice were embellished with crystals skimming along the hems in baroque design. She had accessorized with a gorgeous diamond necklace fully blinging-out of control, which bathed light and sparkle everywhere during the performance. La Ceci's been rocking these same gowns for the Maria Malibran recitals, as reported by Intermezzo, who methodically went to both *both* of Ceci's recitals in December 2007 at the Barbican. Check them out here and here (Our darling Parsifal was also there). Ceci was rocking that 1980s half-up/half-down hairstyle that she favors, and although she mos def lost weight since last December and looks pretty tite, her dress is not forgiving for teh back fett or squashed gigantosaurus bewbs.
The auditorium was pretty freaking large, and we worried that poor Ceci wouldn't quite fill the space with her voice -- and at times, her small but perfect amplification got kinda toned down in the beautiful wood beams of the new big theater. But almost all the time she stayed afloat. The orchestra was full of sweet kids, and had a spirited, lovely, enthusiastic sound, but they didn't pass the test for OC. They played with odd dynamics, unpredictable tempi, and overall had a wet, squishy, shapeless sound. We were surprised at the way some works were overly polished and restrained, and absolutely hated the double-time rush of Michael William Balfe's Yon Moon O'er the Mountains, where our favorite lycanthropic lullaby was hasty, not tasty.
The works by Manuel del Populo Vicente Garcia (Ceci sang "E non lo vedo...Son regina" and the orchestra played the ouverture from La figlia dell'aria) were soporific, followed by another tired match, "Cari giorni" by Giuseppe Persiani. "Infelice" by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy barely supported the evening, and it wasn't until Rossini's "Nacqui all'affanno...non piu' mesta" that La Ceci's flame gutted the audience.
Once she delved into the more lively works, her voice was incredible, vital, and one that cannot be close to being replicated on the most mastered&remixed of CD recordings. Her speed, clarity, and accuracy were off the charts. Her voice was light and agile, throwing off her tradmark, elaborate ornamentation techniques like a super-mecha. Her running passages hit us with the force of a speeding locomotive. And we sensed not a single ounce of tension, nor did she exert any extra force. She was stunningly flawless. Really. She has irony-defeating mad skillZ. One can only bow one's expensively-coiffed head as a sign of respect for Ceci's talent and her scholarship.
The expression in her voice was truly tremendous. You can see how she interacts with each instrument as if it were a creature of flesh and blood. She reacted to the music and soloists almost as a child [childlike in her pure mannerisms & unrestrained devotion], and she would study the mood & tone until the music became, to her, a life form as real as her own body. She's insane.
After the intermission, she changed her gown to the exact same one, except in a flat red, sumptuous rich color, the same exact embellishments as the royalblue gown prior. She had taken-off her incredible necklace, tho (either that or some Cary Grant like international jewel thief stole the thing, chased by la Ceci's henchmen like in that Beastie Boys video).
At the end of the performance, she was handed individual red roses (that were handed to the audience at the auditorium door), and made a nice show of three bis.
First was a Malibran-penned cabaletta from La Tarantella,the second was from the papi of Malibrán, Manuel García's Yo que soy Contrabandista, with an entire entourage of flamenco p33ps following la Ceci to the stage comprised of two guitars and someone with castanets.
Last was another interpretation of Non piu mesta from La Cenerentola, this time done with different trills and ornamentation, while la Ceci took a playful read, waving to the balcony excitedly during the aria with her open palms like a cheerleader.
Away from the lounge chair critics and myopic a$$holes who sit around with their sound systems and label singers, la Ceci cannot be rated on her discs alone. She must be heard & seen for it to be believed...her absolute, supreme authority as one of the most prepared and confident performers in our lifetime. Nobody knows, obvs, how la Maria Malibran actually sounded. But it's pretty difficult to argue that her vintage stilettos are way too big for la Ceci to fill.
La Ceci then orbited back to earth, as she shook hands with almost every fan that handed her a rose from the stage, and she really didn't pull any diva yeayeaokthximtirednowgo stuff...There she was: sweaty, sticky, bewbs akimbo, interacting with her fans, blazing a full smile, with no affectation. La Ceci simply outclasses. Face it.