Joyce DiDonato, Dec. 2, Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall: It was one of those moments that seem to stop time: As part of her semi-staged “In War and Peace” concert, the great mezzo-soprano sang Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament.” The aria’s repeated lines of “Remember Me” have rarely sounded so touching, or so meaningful.
Joyce DiDonato has been a regular visitor to Carnegie Hall for some seasons now. On December 15, the industrious and remarkably thoughtful mezzo-soprano brought something completely original to the august hall’s stage. In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music marked a curated theatrical presentation blending vocal and instrumental music with dance, design, fashion, video imagery and what might be termed either politics or philosophy.
The Carnegie Hall Perspectives series provides artists with a blank slate, a freedom to mount dream projects upon the hallowed boards of the Perelman Stage. On Thursday night, it was Joyce DiDonato’s turn. The mezzo-soprano offered In War & Peace, a program of baroque arias with period ensemble Il Pomo D’Oro. To it, she added back projections, rock concert lighting and interpretive dance …
The New York Times
by James R. Oestreich
If the silver-throated mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato wants to sing glorious music by Purcell and Handel, I’m easy. Any old pretext will do. The pretext on Thursday at Carnegie Hall was “In War and Peace,” a well-traveled, predominantly Baroque program with the early-music band Il Pomo d’Oro, which has already been released on disc by Erato.
In the stylized world of baroque opera and oratorio, emotional extremes were all the rage, with characters typically fighting battles of good and evil that inevitably led to happy endings of moral uplift and celebration. Such resolution was the reassurance audiences needed to get them through dark times.
Challenging fear, turmoil, hate and chaos with the sublime beauty of the Baroque, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and Il Pomo d’Oro brought their project “In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music” to the Folly Theater Wednesday night, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series.
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato brought her project In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music to the Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 30, the first of seven performances in North America.
At the Barbican this week it wasn’t clear whether the world was a “happy place”. It was clear that it was a thrilling place, as the American opera singer Joyce DiDonato stood on a stage and sang. She started her programme, which she called In War and Peace, with an extract from Handel’s opera Jephtha. It was hard not to think of Aleppo as she sang of “scenes of horror, scenes of woe”. It was hard not to think of what has happened in her own country, and of the many people in it who now feel unsafe because other people voted for a man supported by the Ku Klux Klan.
There is a sure guarantee with Joyce DiDonato that any album she releases will appeal to both the ears and the brain, but with her most recent venture, In War and Peace, she has outdone herself. It’s common knowledge now that DiDonato hit upon the theme in the aftermath of the Paris attacks last year; already in the middle of selecting Baroque arias for a new project with Erato, she pitched a new idea to the company: a juxtaposition of chaos and harmony on one disc, an exploration of two fundamental aspects of humanity via Handel, Purcell and one or two lesser-known composers. Several weeks after the album’s release, she brought the period ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro to the Barbican to present the project beyond the confines of the recording studio as part of a global tour.