Blog

Worst accompanying photos EVER, but it’s the best I can do for the moment!

Greetings from SUNNY Salzburg! Oh how happy I am to be able to say that! This city is simply stunning in the sunshine! May it never go away.

I am happy to report that sizzling electricity pulsed through Bellini’s music last night, and my first essay of this wonderful role will be galvanized in my memory for a long time to come. I feel like I just met a new, dear, friend, and I cannot wait to spend more time with her. That may sound a bit strange, but I feel this way when I sing a role for the first time: I never really know this new character until I meet him/her in performance, and with the bit of performing experience I have, I’m all too aware that with the debut undertaking of a new role you barely scratch the surface of finding out who they are, even with all the greatest preparation and intensive rehearsal in the world. The dynamics of performance are so different that nothing can really prepare you for the journey you will take in front of the audience. I know that with each outing I will learn more and more about the character and about how I can meld myself with them. (See – another reason I love the challenges of opera – those never ending possibilities to learn!)

Adalgisa is an astonishing creation. She possesses a very strong moral center, but grapples with her fevered passions – her passion for her God, for her vows, and for the man she loves – who, as tenors are wont to do, serves to complicate things exponentially. Above all, however, she fights for her devotion to Norma. In this she is unwavering. She doesn’t waste time bemoaning her fate – she attacks it straight on: “God, protect me in this fight”, not “But I love him sooooo. Why can’t have him? Pooooooor meeeeee.” No – she faces her dilema straight on and fights proactively to salvage her faith. She immediately denounces him when she knows he has betrayed Norma.

The strength of this woman, as the opera moves forward and she comes into her own radiates so strongly, that singing her story is such a joy. I love, for example, when we get to the hit-melody of “Mira, O Norma”, which Bellini weaved with such simple perfection, he serves up the same simple vocal line for both, and yet we can hear two completely different emotions emanating from these two women. With Adalgisa, I feel a strong, unwavering, unbroken line of assurance and conviction as she wills Norma to salvage her life, and yet, with the same notes and rhythms, Norma can sound as if she is barely able to stand, completely without strength and faltering with each syllable. One melody, two different stories, two conflicting emotions.

And then? These 2 voices miraculously meld into one and Norma is lifted up and sustained in hope and promise. Sadly, yes, this promise ends in a fiery demise, OK, but for the MOMENT perfection triumphs and all is harmonious in the melodic world of thirds and tag-team coloratura!

Please excuse me, but I must gush and blubber-on for a moment to say what a privilege it was to stand on stage last night with the LEGENDARY Edita Gruberova and have the incredible honor of making music with her. She is a monumental artist and has given this world so much joy and beauty through her singing and artistry, that I had to work extremely hard last night not to simply stand in awe of not only what she has accomplished in her long and storied career, but in the performance she was crafting before my eyes last night. It was a magical night for me as an admirer of hers, and as a musician, to create music on that level next to such a star. Indeed it was a night to remember!

Now, from the sublime to the ridiculous. I was obviously too preoccupied with my first attack of this role (in such a prestigious venue, no less – AND, as I found out, in what was the premiere performance of “Norma” for the Salzburg Festival!), that my camera did not make an appearance. I hope to make up for it with the 2nd show.

But I wanted to post something….so I have some bug shots from my vacation last week outside of Innsbruck. Yes. Bugs. But, if you’ll bear with me, I can connect the dots. But please, at this point, do me a favor and re-read the title of this blog post, as it truly is the worst association of a blog theme with photos. Ever.

😉

OK – here goes nothing:

The colony of worshipers await Norma’s arrival on the scene. (You may have to click on the photo to enlarge to get the full benefit of the association!)


She stands before them and spins a perfect bel canto line in her famous aria, “Casta Diva”:


In front of her two children, she contemplates murdering them. (My God, who EVER says opera is boring?!?!):


Saving the day, Adalgisa flies onto the scene and convinces Norma to be a better Mother as they sing the hit tune, “Look, Norma”:


Oh, that was terrible. But I did spend the most fascinating half hour with this flower watching the traffic of the feeders and I was mesmerized. Which completely grosses me out, because I’m really not a bug person. At all.

Either is Norma, I know, but hey – we have to make do with what we’ve got, right? Oh no – what have I done? I’ve surely just inspired some young director in a most perverse way!

Cheers!

48 mins ago

When you have the opportunity to take action and truly save an innocent life, take it. Please spend a few minutes t… https://t.co/OqOwLKMX8F

13 Oct

And just like *that* - right into the middle of a technicolor world!! Elated to be in #Bogotá for the first time an… https://t.co/eCbrnRrpl3

12 Oct

Indeed it was....improvising gorgeously on the cornetto! Pure magic! https://t.co/yjUo9ZE9EV

FOLLOW Joyce DiDonato

And just like *that* - right into the middle of a technicolor world!! Elated to be in #Bogotá for the first time and ready to launch our final tour of #InWarAndPeace throughout South & North America starting at the @teatromayor On Wednesday. Stay tuned...this is going to be deeply special!

“Grazie, London.” Thanks for the wicked, wonderful memories!!! #Agrippina

What an indescribable joy it has been to bring the many faces of #Agrippina to life here at the @royaloperahouse with such an extraordinary cast, crew, and team-at-large for such fantastic audiences! I’ve been well aware from the first day that this was an instance of “as good as it gets”. Luckily, I get to spend a lot of time with this powerhouse this season ... so while it’s “goodbye” for now, I shall return to the quest for the throne shortly! 😎 PS As if we needed reminding: #absolutepowercorruptsabsolutely Photo: Bill Cooper / ROH

So. Many. Thoughts! Like how hard it is to think that we only have 2 shows left in this incredibly special run of #RohAgrippina! How time flies when you’re grasping for all that power! Photo: Bill Cooper / ROH

Wishing each of you a beautiful, restorative Sunday . . . ❤️

I’m elated to bring to you my most treasured vocal tracks. These are the things I turn to when I’m looking for more beauty in my life. Listen to my hand-picked pieces from across the ages that showcase the full expressive power of the human voice on @applemusic. Enjoy!! 🔗 Link in bio.

Having the time of my life at the @royaloperahouse with this timely monster of a role. Still boggles my mind how fortunate I am to take such wild journeys on the stage! Photo: Bill Cooper / ROH

What a gift to sing Handel’s #Agrippina for the @royaloperahouse and you gorgeous #London Public!! I’m already sad to think we only have 4 more performances left! #catchusifyoucan #absolutepowercorruptsabsolutely Thank you, Marcin, for this lovely souvenir of the curtain call 😎

After the intensive and wonderful journey to get #Agrippina up on her feet, full of her manipulative and cruel machinations, what a joy to return to #nature in all Her restorative, healing, “real world” glory. Aaaaahhhhhhh......

Follow Joyce on Instagram

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

~ Joyce DiDonato