Said superstar is Maria Malibran, leading lady for Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini and a singer who became yet more famous after her death in 1836 at the age of 28. The Decca Classics disc is a collection of bel canto arias Malibran sang: selections from such familiar fare as Norma, La sonnambula and I Puritani as well as such rarities as a work written for Malibran and her common-law husband, violinist Charles de B_riot, by Mendelssohn.
The week's other new arrival on the classical chart, at no. 18, is Baroque, the latest collection of partly improvised renditions of 18th-century keyboard music by the inventive Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero.
At no. 2 on the chart, just behind La Bartoli, is "Duets," Deutsche Grammophon's new album featuring soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villaz‹n. Following in the top five, in order, are Browns in Blue by the Juilliard-trained pianist siblings The 5 Browns, crossover violinist Andr_ Rieu's Radio City Music Hall: Live in New York, and soprano Danielle de Niese's debut disc, featuring Handel arias accompanied by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.
There are two new arrivals on this week's Billboard classical crossover chart, both from widely respected classical vocal ensembles. Let It Snow, a new collection of Christmas carols by the beloved men's group Chanticleer, debuts at no. 12; a collection of traditional Norwegian ballads, hymns and lullabies, titled simply "Folk Songs," sung by the three women of Trio Mediaeval, debuts at no. 17.
Josh Groban's holiday release, Noel, is the crossover no. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed in order by One Chance by British tenor and television discovery Paul Potts, Groban's Awake (itself at no. 1 for weeks until last month), the classical pops collection Wolfgang's Big Night Out by rock guitarist Brian Setzer and his orchestra, one Andrea Bocelli disc, two different releases by Il Divo and a second Bocelli title.