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Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli was among the most popular figures in contemporary opera, wowing audiences and critics alike with her rich, gentle vocals and expressive three-and-a-half octave range. A native of Rome born June 4, 1966, Bartoli was the daughter of opera singers, and her mother, Silvana Bazzoni, was her first and only vocal instructor. She made her professional debut at age nine, and at 19 rocketed to fame in the wake of a star-making Italian television appearance opposite soprano Katia Ricciarelli and baritone Leo Nucci. A subsequent Parisian performance caught the attention of the famed conductor Daniel Barenboim, who became one of Bartoli's most vocal supporters; a television special filmed for the BBC's South Bank Show introduced her to mainstream audiences, and in the summer of 1990 she made her New York debut at the Mostly Mozart festival. Bartoli regularly toured the U.S. in the years to follow, additionally making her Paris debut in 1991 in The Marriage of Figaro followed by her La Scala bow in Le Comte Ory. She returned to New York in the spring of 1996 to make her Metropolitan Opera debut in Cosi Fan Tutte. Bartoli also bolstered her fame by regularly touring concert halls as a solo performer; her extensive recorded discography includes 1991's Mozart Arias, 1993's Grammy-winning The Impatient Lover, 1996's Chant d'amour and 1999's In Paradisium.