Recording Reviews

Drama Queens

BEST DISC OF THE YEAR 2012:

Osnabrücker Zeitung: “Der Gänsehaut-Effekt ist garantiert.”
Chicago Tribune
Star Ledger: “She needs no sets or costumes”
The New Yorker
Time Out NY: “Fiercely Passionate”
WFMT Chicago
WXQR NY: “How blessed we are to be living in the age of DiDonato”

Recording Piangero in Lonigo with Alan Curtis

Recording Piangero in Lonigo with Alan Curtis ©Ralf Pleger

 

“There might be a wink and a nod in the title, but DiDonato’s singing is sublime. This woman is a singer down to her bones. She is totally secure at all points of her register — gleaming at the top, rich and grounded at the bottom — with heartfelt lyricism and a musicality that can’t be faked.

DiDonato matches her impeccable technique with keen intelligence and actorly power. She makes us feel the passions and (to borrow two Baroque-and-before expressions) the humors and affections of characters who today can seem cartoonishly drawn.

DiDonato’s feat is that she makes us believe. And that’s as great a gift as her voice.” ~ Anastasia Tsioulcas NPR Deceptive Cadence November 2012

“Joyce DiDonato’s magnificent new recital disc is dedicated to the proposition that a Baroque aria is there to give expression to the most fervent and dramatically extreme emotions – and that musical technique serves to give voice to that state of mind. In a series of excerpts by Handel, Monteverdi, Hasse and more, the great American mezzo-soprano puts on one display after another of vocal wizardry, from cascades of rapid-fire, pinpoint coloratura to sustained and immaculately shaped lyrical phrases.

The effect is always impressive and beautiful, as any vocal display should be. Yet what raises these performances to a whole different level of splendor is the expressive transparency that DiDonato lavishes on them – listening to these regal women in extremis, you hear exactly how and why they’re suffering, and just what it means to them.” ~ Joshua Kosman San Francisco Chronicle December 2012

“DISC OF THE MONTH

DiDonato has never been reluctant to dig in and give full vent to an aria’s emotional essence, yet this disc marks an appreciable step in that direction.  The passion will energize the listener just it energized Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco who make their own contribution to the disc’s blazing intensity.”  ~ George Loomis Gramophone January 2013

“Joyce DiDonato has reigned for years as the queen of mezzo coloratura. She sounds better than ever as she lets us indulge in the emotional extremes of 17th and 18th century leading ladies. Her runs and trills impress as always and she displays seamless legato singing. With her wide range of vocal colors — plush top notes, creamy straight tones, even occasional harsh and breathy effects — rage, despair and euphoria spring vividly to life. She needs no sets or costumes.” ~ Ronni Reich The Star-Ledger December 2012

“The queens are from baroque and early-classical operas, many of them obscure, which allows Joyce to let rip with more decorations than an oligarch’s bathroom and more freedom than the US Constitution.  The singing is in a class – a world – of its own.” ~ Norman Lebrecht La Scena Musicale November 2012

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2013

*DIAPASON D’OR*

“Le rouge est mis! D’or et de feu, Joyce DiDonato livre au disque un cortège de souveraines qui embrasa la scène dans une longue tournée. Saluons l’intelligence d’un programme généreux en raretés, qui puise dans l’opéra séria une galerie de reines, princesses, sor cières.” ~ Sophie Roughol Diapason January 2013

“It’s hard to think of the last American singer so universally loved and rightly admired on the international opera circuit. She’s currently touring this material [and] crowds are going wild, and all the right people are talking “concert of the year” and “CD of the year.Who, really, can even say with authority that this is DiDonato’s best recording, when all the ones before it, and now this one too, are as good as it gets. It’s yet another socko collaboration with out early-music maestro Alan Curtis and his ensemble, Il Complesso Barocco, and musical sparks fly as they always have with this pair.” ~ Tim Plaff Bay Area Reporter December 2012

La mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato est vraiment la nouvelle reine du lyrique mondial : une voix exceptionnelle, lumineuse et veloutée, une conduction de la mélodie ample et fine.” ~ Sud Ouest September 2012

With Il Complesso Barocco backstage at Carnegie Hall

With Il Complesso Barocco backstage at Carnegie Hall

 “There are singers who are secure in technique but cautious in expression, there are singers who deliver passion but damage the ears, and then there is Joyce DiDonato, who consistently finds the golden mean. She is a singer not only of flair and power but of intelligence and taste.”  ~ Alex Ross New Yorker November 2012

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There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover.

~ Joyce DiDonato