EMI/Virgin Classics is thrilled to announce today the renewal of its exclusive long-term contract with American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato on March 14.  This should come as little surprise.  To date the collaboration has yielded such gems as Rossini: Colbran, the Muse, which was named the New Yorker’s “pick for the best CD of 2009” and dubbed “another bulls-eye from the wondrous Joyce DiDonato … today’s gold standard” by Time Out New York.  The collaboration also encompasses a DVD capturing her “legendary…triumphant” (BBC Music) turn as Rosina – complete with wheelchair and pink cast after a mid-performance injury – in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia at London’s Covent Garden.  The mezzo’s most recent recital album, Diva, Divo, was released in January to a chorus of glowing reviews: the Associated Press marveled, “One of today’s most accomplished singers, American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has it all,” while Britain’s Sunday Times concluded “DiDonato’s is a five-star voice, perhaps the finest lyric mezzo before the public today.

Alain Lanceron, President of Virgin Classics, observes:

“I’m very happy with Joyce’s confidence in EMI/Virgin Classics and that the wonderful adventure we embarked upon some years ago will continue with many other remarkable projects.  Since her first recordings with Virgin Classics, Joyce’s fame has grown internationally and we are very proud that she is now one of the most sought after opera singers.”

Indeed, a singer could scarcely be hotter than Joyce DiDonato right now.  Recently honored with both Artist of the Year and Best Recital Disc Gramophone Awards, the mezzo-soprano has just starred in the lead role of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Houston Grand Opera and looks forward to two runs at the Met and starring roles at four leading European opera houses.  She recently capped a rapturously received eight-city U.S. recital tour with her main-stage Carnegie Hall recital debut featuring a Heggie world premiere on March 6.  “Ms. DiDonato seemed the perfect 21st-century diva — an effortless combination of glamour, charisma, intelligence, grace and remarkable talent,” declared the New York Times

For her second tour of the season the mezzo takes on her next major Handel challenge, crossing Europe in the dramatic title role of Handel’s Ariodante with Il Complesso Barocco and conductor Alan Curtis.  The tour celebrates EMI/Virgin Classics’ May release of Ariodante on disc starring DiDonato with the same forces and starts on May 20 in Baden-Baden, Germany, with stops in Paris and London.

The singer is also already looking forward to her next EMI/Virgin Classics recital album, which is due for release in October 2012.  To quote the Times of London, “Long live the yankee diva!”