Even when hard at work rehearsing, Cecilia Bartoli lives up to her nickname 'La Gioiosa,' the joyful one.
Eight million record sales put her among the best-selling classical music artists of our time.
During rehearsals in Gran Canaria, she revealed one or two secrets of her art:
"It's very important not to fear to feel emotions, to abandon yourself to the music. This can be achieved if you are technically confident, then you no longer have to worry about the singing, and you can fly with your voice, and that is great."
Bartoli is also renowned for her talent in bringing back to life long forgotten composers and repertoires.
Sacrificium is her latest title; it revisits the music of the 'Castrati' in eighteenth century Naples.
And she shows that she can paint as well as fly with her voice. She told us:
"Being able to paint with your voice means looking for colours and shades, and using your voice as an instrument that can hold a dialogue with the other instruments."
Bartoli is one of the top mezzo-sopranos of her generation. She is demanded the world over but she still finds the time to enjoy the company of friends and family and travel with them to tour venue, almost like an ordinary holiday maker.
Despite her talent, she admits she's not perfect:
"Shortcomings… I'm definitely enjoying my food, and, well, when I think of certain fried guilty pleasures, I really can't resist. I'm an impatient person. Sometimes I cannot get what I want and so my rehearsals with the orchestra last five, six, eight hours! Still, the results are there, and so everybody's happy. But I'm definitely a toughie!"
And she says she's confident classical music will always remain popular even as the times change:
"Art will survive. People keep going to the opera, keep loving it. Art enables us to dream, to enter a magic world. We're human beings, we need to live out strong emotions, and thanks to the great artists of the past we keep living those emotions."
Grischa Asagaroff (stage director), Nello Santi (conductor) – With Vesselina Kasarova (Rosina) – Opernhaus Zürich