Cecilia Bartoli’s new album – ‘St Petersburg’ is in a collection that includes no fewer than 11 world-premiere recordings. The collection focuses on a golden age for opera during the 18th century as three successive empresses (or tsaritsas) looked to Italy to bring the all-but-unknown form of opera to their courts at St Petersburg. Anna Ioannovna (Peter the Great’s niece, 1730–40), Elizaveta Petrovna (Elizabeth, 1741–62) and Catherine II (better known as Catherine the Great, 1762–96) looked west and south to draw on the culture of Europe, and they did it with style!
As well as Cimarosa, who spent four years in St Petersburg, the composers represented include Francesco Araia (the first composer to have an opera performed in Russia), Hermann Friedrich Raupach, Vincenzo Manfredini, Domenico Dall’Oglio and Luigi Madonis. The album will be the first time Cecilia Bartoli has sung in Russian (there are two arias in Russian on the recording).