First pic: Cecilia Bartoli grows a beard

First pic: Cecilia Bartoli grows a beard


norman lebrecht

May 26, 2017

She’s playing Ariodante at Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

photos: Monika Ritterhaus/Salzburger Festspiele 

Suits you, sir!


  • NN says:

    She looks like a bad copy of Conchita Wurst…

  • Bruce says:

    Somehow the picture with the gown reminds me of Renee Fleming (?!).

    The one in armor looks really good!

  • bye bye says:

    I think it’s brilliant. Now to put some facial hair on Octavian and Cherubino.

    I never understood who decided that mature married women would fall in love with androgynous teens (which, imho, is more reflective of a middle age gay male fantasy than a straight woman’s desire).

  • Radamisto says:

    Daft idea, Handel used the soprano castrato, Carestini, if he could not obtain one, he would have used a female lead without a beard Joyce Di Donato for Alan Curtis never used one. The baddie character Polinesso might suit a beard, though beards were out in the 18th century.

    • Emma says:

      Mate it’s not always about the quest for period authenticity… What else is art for if not to break boundaries and challenge our perceptions? There’ll be a directorial concept behind this which we can’t really grasp from this short article. If all cultural endeavours subscribed to our mainstream tastes then life would be incredibly boring…

      • Radamisto says:

        Madam, this is precisely why opera productions are so bad today. H v K hated opera producers he did it all himself, why must we have these daft productions. Bayreuth in 1951 started it all. When I attend the green hill I keep my eyes closed

      • Sir Thomas Beecham says:

        Radamisto is spot on. Opera productions today are getting way too outrageous. Yes Ariodante should be sung by a man without any balls, far better than a bearded lady any day. It would certainly put a frisson to the role. The alternative would be for Cecilia to undergo gender reassignment, however her genotype at present would remain XX. From a cost angle the ball less option would make more economic sense! Maybe they still have one up at the Sistine chapel.

        • Walter Sedlmayr says:

          Sir Thomas, post H v K Salzburg opera productions have certainly fallen in quality. You only have to read Wiener Zeitung and Die Presse. As you know H v K like to do it all himself. I would rather call in a surgeon and have all these opera producer lanced forthwith. H v K would probably want them all tied up in barbed wire and doused in gasoline.

  • sankara says:

    It looks like a REAL beard…. So if Bartoli takes testosteron pills, she is becoming a GM organism, which could also modify (its, her, his ) voice…Or won’t it ?