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Dress rehearsal for The Marriage of Figaro, February 1992 (George Mott photo)

Dress rehearsal for The Marriage of Figaro, February 1992 (George Mott photo)

During Daniel Barenboim’s first season as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s ninth music director, several concerts included music by Mozart to commemorate the bicentennial of the composer’s death. The commemoration culminated in February 1992, with the transformation of Orchestra Hall into an opera house as Barenboim conducted (from memory) performances of the three operas by Mozart with librettos by Lorenzo Da PonteThe Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, and Don Giovanni. Presented semistaged in rotating repertory, the productions featured such leading singers as Lella Cuberli, Joan Rodgers, Cecilia Bartoli, Waltraud Meier, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Michele Pertusi, with costumes by Oscar de la Renta.

Following The Marriage of Figaro, Wynne Delacoma in the Chicago Sun-Times called the performance “luxurious in the broadest and best sense. There was the CSO’s sumptuous sound, a fine roster of singers and inventive staging . . . [with] a rich elegance that fit beautifully in the affluent, contemporary stage universe created by directors Christopher and David Alden.” And in the Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein added, “Indeed, hearing Mozart’s scoring as played by the CSO was without question the chief justification for Barenboim’s presenting the Da Ponte works on the subscription series. Seldom in any theater does one hear orchestral sonorities so warmly blended or impeccably balanced, yet with every detail in clear relief.”

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Cecilia Bartoli

Wishing a very happy fiftieth birthday to the remarkable mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli!

A favorite visitor to Chicago, Bartoli made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in February 1992, during Daniel Barenboim‘s first season as music director. She appeared in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte, in semistaged productions (directed by Christopher and David Alden with costumes designed by Oscar de la Renta) presented in rotating repertory along with the composer’s Don Giovanni.

A complete list of Bartoli’s performances with the Orchestra is below:

February 2, 7, and 12, 1992, at Orchestra Hall
MOZART The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Figaro Ferruccio Furlanetto, bass
Susanna Joan Rodgers, soprano
Doctor Bartolo Günter von Kannen, bass
Marcellina Mimi Lerner, mezzo-soprano
Cherubino Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano
Count Almaviva Michele Pertusi, bass
Don Basilio/Don Curzio Graham Clark, tenor
Countess Almaviva Lella Cuberli, soprano
Antonio Peter Rose, bass
Barbarina Dawn Kotoski, soprano
Members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Richard Garrin, chorus director

Cecilia Bartoli and Daniel Barenboim on Opening Night, September 25, 1998 (Dan Rest photo)

Cecilia Bartoli and Daniel Barenboim on Opening Night, September 25, 1998 (Dan Rest photo)

February 5, 10, and 15, 1992, at Orchestra Hall
MOZART Così fan tutte, K. 588
Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Ferrando Bruno Lazzaretti, tenor
Guglielmo Michele Pertusi, bass
Don Alfonso Ferruccio Furlanetto, bass
Fiordiligi Lella Cuberli, soprano
Dorabella Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano
Despina Joan Rodgers, soprano
Members of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Don Horisberger, chorus director

September 25, 1998, at Orchestra Hall (Opening Night Gala)
MOZART Ch’io mi scordi di te? . . . Non temer, amato bene, K. 505*
MOZART Un moto di gioia, K. 579
MOZART Parto, parto from La clemenza di Tito, K. 621**
Daniel Barenboim, conductor and piano*
Larry Combs, clarinet**

March 6, 2001, at Orchestra Hall
March 9, 2001, at Carnegie Hall
BERLIOZ Les nuits d’éte, Op. 7
BERLIOZ Zaïde (Boléro), Op. 19/1 (performed as an encore)
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

Happy, happy birthday!

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