Cecilia Bartoli Has a New Role: Head of Monte Carlo’s Opera


The great Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli is preparing to take on a new role: director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

The appointment of Ms. Bartoli, 53, who will be the first woman to lead the company, was announced on Tuesday in the company’s ornate home, the Salle Garnier. She will begin in 2023.

Ms. Bartoli described the position in a statement as a new phase in her career and “the realization of a dream.” She added that she would be guided by her motto: “Draw on tradition and bring innovation.”

Ms. Bartoli will continue to appear at opera houses and concert halls around the world after taking the helm in Monte Carlo. But her appointment is the latest example of the way she has been expanding her portfolio in recent years by becoming an impresario as well as a singer.

Since 2012, Ms. Bartoli has been the artistic director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in Austria, where she has both programmed the offerings and starred in many of them. In 2016, she and the current director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Jean-Louis Grinda, created Les Musiciens du Prince-Monaco, a period-instrument ensemble that has toured extensively in Europe.

The Opéra de Monte-Carlo has premiered a number of operas, including Massenet’s “Don Quichotte,” Puccini’s “La Rondine” and Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les Sortilèges,” and drawn many of opera’s most famous singers since it opened in 1879.

Its intimate jewel box of a theater, which was built as part of a project to enlarge Monte Carlo’s famous casino, was designed by Charles Garnier, and is sometimes thought of as a smaller cousin of the Paris opera house he designed, now called the Palais Garnier. Ms. Bartoli, who made her debut in Monte Carlo in 1989, near the beginning of her career, in a performance of “The Barber of Seville,” called it one of the most beautiful houses in the world.

“Its dimensions and acoustics are perfect,” she said. “A real gem.”



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