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Big voice, big heart

Updated: 2013-10-11 07:48
By Chen Jie (China Daily)

Big voice, big heart

Opera diva Cecilia Bartoli is touring the Chinese mainland for the first time. She says her Beijing concert was a "unique" experience and promises to return to collaborate with Chinese musicians. Photos provided to China Daily

Despite being hailed as one of the best sopranos in the world, Cecilia Bartoli is ever obliging to her fans. Chen Jie catches up with the singer on what makes her tick and her future plans.

Early Tuesday evening, Wangfujing Street was as crowded as usual. In front of Sun Dong An Plaza, a group of young students was surrounding a petite dark brown-haired middle-aged lady and singing Happy Birthday. Casually dressed, she looked just like any other Western tourist, but her voice betrayed her.

She is Cecilia Bartoli, one of the best sopranos in the world today - some call her the Madonna of the opera world.

Those young people were conservatory students who attended her recital at the National Center for the Performing Arts on Monday night. They were celebrating one of their friend's birthday when they spotted her in the street. They asked whether she could join them to sing a birthday song.

That's a bit crazy. A diva sings with a group of strange students on the street corner! But Bartoli said, "Why not?"

"Because I love their spontaneity, their warmness. When you walk in the street and think it's a big city and people might be stressful ... they work from 6 in the morning till midnight, but still have this positive attitude. That is a miracle. I want to learn from them."

It was not the first time the Italian soprano has said "why not?" to her Chinese fans.

Monday night after her recital, she spent an hour signing autographs for her fans until 11:20 pm. The staff from NCPA said very few artists would allocate such a long time to signing autographs after a three-hour concert.

She did not only bury herself in the signing but also took time to say hello to everybody and even talked about the albums with them. She did not only sign her name but added two little "hearts".


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