Blog

Running Through

Last night we had our first complete run-through of “La Donna del Lago” here in Geneva.


Again, I love the serendipity of debuting this stunning role in a city famous for it’s gorgeous lake! By all accounts, everyone was happy with the first attempt at getting from A to Zed last night, but it was a real indication for me of how tough the night will be from a performance standpoint.

In this particular staging, Elena is on stage the entire time (save for the beginning of Rodrigo’s aria near the end of the 1st act.) Aside from that brief exception, I’m on. It means that getting to the finale of the piece, which just happens to be the big aria, “Tanti affetti”, comes after nearly 3 hours of intense concentration, constant physical tension, a fair bit of singing, and a single, brief drink of water. Last night was the real litmus test to see if I can make it, and coming at the end of a long week of rehearsals, I was relieved to still be standing at the end!

Seeing as that it’s a new production, I can’t give away too much, but I’ll be very curious to see how it will be received. Christof, the stage director, has been very convincing in his vision of this piece, and I’ve always said I’m willing to try anything as long as I can understand the “why” of the character’s choices. In this case, Elena is a bit of a recluse without too many social skills and escapes into a world of fantasy and flight, all the meanwhile having to live within the reality of her war-torn village. I found the journey last night terribly fascinating, but it’s a huge challenge to pull off: if I lack any clarity as a performer, I fear it won’t work at all.

It’s also a character that is quite far from me (personally, I tend to thrive in most social situations!), and the awkwardness that I’m being asked to play presents the problem of not disappearing entirely as a personality, as well as finding the internal strength to sing out her emotional phrases. I’m loving the challenge and hope that I’m able to create a convincing, tender character who surprisingly blossoms into her own, making “Tanti affetti” a necessary expression of her journey – not just a fireworks display (although I do anticipate that there will be a few vocal sparks during the night!!!).

I shared with a dear friend of mine a bit of dismay in being “simply dressed” – which, of course totally fits with the character, and seems perfectly right, but you know, as an opera singer playing a girl, we always want the pretty dress. His supportive reply was this absolutely priceless and BRILLIANT clip from a TV special with Beverly Sills and Carol Burnett. It’s a must for a beautiful Sunday laugh:

And as is always the case with youtube, once you start it’s nearly impossible to stop, so there is also this, which brings back beautiful memories for me of “Resurrection” at HGO a few years back:

Seriously. Does it GET any better than this?

The laughs were most welcome after a long, exhausting week, but I’m officially ecstatic about the opening coming up soon. I must say, I feel that this role is a real gift to me at this moment; I am relishing each musical phrase, and it seems the exact right moment to be adding her to my repertoire. I get to spend a decent amount of time with her in the next few years and it’s a RELIEF to say that really love her!

It’s also wonderful to be debuting this role in such a wonderful, familiar house. I’ve done 4 big role debuts here in Geneva (Elisabetta, Sesto, Ariodante, and now Elena), over the span of 6 years, and each time it has been a wonderfully safe place to take risks and explore a new repertoire for me. For someone who lives nearly her entire life on the road, it’s nice to find those places and people that make you feel at home!

11 Jun

Who needs espresso? Or to understand the wonder of life? Apparently I only need this....! https://t.co/F56DafpiH7

11 Jun

Indeed. https://t.co/p8G1st1OSG

9 Jun

Cry. You can reapply the concealer .... tears are cleansing and sometimes called for ... 😔 https://t.co/fd9hDX0OgS

FOLLOW Joyce DiDonato

#SummerLovin #LovinLavender #LavenderLovin

I arrive (nearly) to the end of this very full season, and it’s good moment to remind each of you reading this that YOU are the reason I travel the world, away from home for months at a time, working towards an unattainable perfection, exposed in ways very few people can imagine, singing the stories of characters searching for enlightenment/redemption/hope/relief/joy, and why I dedicate a large part of my life to this century’s old art form. I do it to entertain you at a minimum, but mostly to offer you comfort, to help us all join in a communal “event” that connects us across time and space despite our perceived differences, and I do it because I truly believe it makes the world a better place. I know you feel this most of the time as well. It’s likely what keeps bringing you back! I hope that after this season, perhaps you feel a bit more inspired to take what you receive as an audience member and activate that sensation in your own life, to bring hope and joy to the world around you. Don’t ever underestimate your power to do that - one doesn’t need the spotlight to bring transformation. #Songplay #Winterreise #Agrippina #Didon ✨

If this girl can do it, you can too!!!!!!! #belikeanant #heavyload #yourenevergivenanythingyoucanthandle #antsruletheworld #summerlovin

Grazie Mille @accademiadisantacecilia and the @baciopanino boys. What a JOY it was to perform with you all. Until the next time!

Celebrating #WorldOceansDay ... hoping every single one of you has the chance to swim in the vast blue ocean one day. Growing up in Kansas, I didn’t have the chance until I was in my 30’s, but when I finally did, an entire new universe opened right underneath me and I was changed. I’m so grateful for all that the planet’s oceans give to us. I want to be sure I’m doing all I can as a citizen of the world to take care of them and their vast, life-giving properties. Let’s get more informed and more active in protecting them and helping them thrive.

I was not prepared. The inspiration is through the roof to bring to life the towering cantata of #JoanOfArc tonight in the very cathedral de St. Denis, where she prayed for strength centuries and centuries ago. The same stones that received her pleas tonight will hear them again filtered through the mind of Rossini and the vibrations of those of us on stage. This, perhaps, is the thing I love most about the world of music - it connects us directly through time and space, and it shows us demonstrably how we are one. Ask me how much I love my “job”! @festivalsaintdenis @accademiadisantacecilia

#HowToFlower . . . What’s beautiful around you right now?

Grazie Mille, Roma. What a gift to be here for the briefest of moments - how much life we can find in the now!!!! #LightShower #Pantheon #Mystical #Luz #Luz #Luz #NoFilter #LookAround #Stopqndbreathe #batheinthelight #recoup #regenerate #batheingratitude #boydidtheromansknowhowtobuildabuilding #agrippinawashere #perfection #ladolcevita

And behind the scenes with Maestro Pappano and his @accademiadisantacecilia: a glimpse into the PROCESS which I love so much as we create our journey to prepare for the magic of the audience’s arrival. Thank you all for making our hard work so worthwhile!

Follow Joyce on Instagram

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

~ Joyce DiDonato