Stella di Napoli


Stella di Napoli – Joyce DiDonato

Pacini / Bellini / Carafa / Rossini / Mercadante / Donizetti / Valentini

On Stella di Napoli (Star of Naples), the American mezzo-soprano’s creamy tone and dramatic prowess breathe new life into little-known arias by Mercadante, Michele Carafa (a student of Cherubini and close friend of Rossini), Carlo Valentini and the prolific opera composer Giovanni Pacini, whose Stella di Napoli (1845) gives the album its title. Joyce worked closely with Italian conductor Riccardo Minasi (whose previous projects include Bellini’s Norma with Cecilia Bartoli) to bring three unjustly neglected arias to light in new editions and world premiere recordings. Alongside these little-known gems, Joyce presents a sumptuous Bel Canto banquet with music by the three greats — Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti — including the latter’s Maria Stuarda: a tour-de-force signature role for Joyce, recently screened in cinemas and released on DVD from the New York Metropolitan Opera.

Track Listing

01 Stella di Napoli, Part I: “Ove t’aggiri, o barbaro” (Stella, Marta)
02 Adelson e Salvini, Act 1: “Dopo l’oscuro nembo” (Nelly)
03 Le nozze di Lammermoor, Act 2: “L’amica ancor non torna… Oh, di sorte crudel” (Lucia)
04 Zelmira, Act 2: “Riedi al soglio” (Zelmira, Polidoro, Ilo)
05 La vestale, Act 2: “Se fino al cielo ascendere” (Giunia)
06 Elisabetta al castello di Kenilworth, Act 3: “Par che mi dica ancora” (Amelia)
07 I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Act 2: “Tu sola, o mia Giulietta… Deh! tu, bell’anima” (Romeo)
08 Il sonnambulo, Act 1: “Lasciami… Se il mar sommesso mormora” (Adele, Sofia)
09 Maria Stuarda, Act 3: “Io vi rivedo alfin… Deh! Tu di un’umile preghiera” (Maria)
10 Saffo, Act 3: “Flutto che muggi… Teco dall’are pronube… L’ama ognor qual io l’amai” (Saffo, Faone, Climene, Alcandro)


Gramophone Editor’s ChoiceEditor’s Choice – Gramophone Magazine
International Classical Music Award for “Best Vocal Recital”


“The aria from Maria Stuarda which DiDonato sings so triumphantly is but one highlight on this sumptuous disc from one of today’s most impressive singers.” – November 2014 Gramophone Editor’s Choice

“Here DiDonato is in top form, tossing off staccatos, trills, arpeggios, repeated notes and chromatics with astonishing accuracy and energy.” – Opera News

“As expected, DiDonato has virtuosity to spare, but what makes this disc special is the shimmering radiance of emotion she brings to operas such as Bellini’s Adelson e Salvini and Pacini’s Saffo. In Mary Stuart’s radiantly sung solo before her execution DiDonato leaves no doubt that her own star is at its height.” – Financial Times

“ . . . this luscious collection of Italian bel canto opera arias presents the incandescent DiDonato on top form, the creamy tones effortlessly whipped into endless, kaleidoscopic threads of melody.” – The Times UK

A must for all fans of DiDonato, especially if you enjoyed her last Rossini disc Colbran: The Muse – and well worth exploring for anyone who fancies an enthusiastic, committed guide to the highways and byways of bel canto.” – Presto Classical

“You may think bel canto recital discs are not your thing. Let Joyce DiDonato convince you otherwise. She did me.” – The Guardian/The Observer

“The title of Joyce DiDonato’s new Erato album is “Stella di Napoli” (Star of Naples). The title is appropriate since no opera star today shines more brightly than this mezzo soprano . . . On the whole, these bel canto characters do not lead happy lives but they do suffer and expire in style, especially when portrayed by DiDonato.” – The Epoch Times

“… (she) subtly colours the words and notes… with unerring imagination… all are worth hearing…” – Sinfini Music

“To be a top classical singer you have to have a lot. But Joyce DiDonato is different: she’s got it all.” – The Mail on Sunday

“Joyce DiDonato allures with virtuosic coloratura and the sensuality of her perfectly appealing mezzo-depth.” – Der Tagesspiegel

“If only there’d be more singers like Joyce DiDonato – the world of Opera would be an Elysium” – Rondo Magazin

“L’étoile de Naples ne pouvait être mieux sertie.” – Diapason

“…DiDonato’s perfectly poised interpretation of “Dopo l’oscuro nembo”, from Bellini’s Adelson e Salvini, at once majestic, sensuous and stoically wounded.” – The Independent

“The melodies are broad and expressive, the coloratura thrilling, and DiDonato endows everything with her trademark blend of charisma and precision.” – SF Gate


  1. Ulla Tarras-Wahlberg said…


  2. Phil said…

    The more I listen to this CD, the more I love it! Thanks, Joyce!

  3. Corrie Donovan said…

    I don’t know if this where you look for your fan’s questions, but I hope so, and if not I apologize!

    First, let me say I am such a fan! Watching you perform and lecture gives me great joy. I am incredibly impressed by your humanist view of life and this career. I also want to say thank you for making your youtube videos. I am a young Soprano, with a Bachelors and Masters degree in voice, and the FWOpera Young Artist Studio under my belt, and your videos have helped me sort through many difficult times, and taught me things that no one else has. They are immensely helpful and refreshingly honest, thank you!

    I also didn’t know if I wanted to be in opera, and I fought it for a long time, however I have been taking classical voice lessons since I was 9 years old and singing has just always been a natural part of who I am. While I am truly grateful for my years as a young artist, I often felt that during those years I was really just trying to keep my voice healthy enough to keep up. I think this is partially because I was fresh out of college and I didn’t quite understand technique like I needed to, but also because we did hundreds of shows for Educational Outreach, and it tired me out emotionally, physically, and vocally (and I’m a certified Crossfitter!). I am incredibly grateful for this experience, however now that I am out of the program, I feel that I am able to explore my technique in a way that I just couldn’t before. I am hoping I’m not the only young artists to have felt this way during apprenticeships, but it felt like a vocal marathon!

    This is why I am writing now (long story LONG, sorry). I have been playing a lot with how I approach practicing, and how I can incorporate this into my daily life. I am still not at a point where I can support myself solely with singing, therefore I still have to teach and work other jobs to help pay the bills. Because of this, figuring out how and what to practice can be challenging at times. I am a fighter and I always want to be singing as well as my voice can, but I am still trying to figure out the best ways to practice. I was wondering if you could explain more about how you approach practicing and in what ways you maintain discipline within your practice? More specifically I am wondering how often you practice, are you always trying new vocal exercises, and what type of discipline do you try to maintain within your practice? Also, I know you’ve mentioned that a singer needs to be careful with how much ‘muscle memory’ we create in our chords, and I’m wondering how that translates into your practice?

    Thank you for being the inspiration and kind woman you are. Congrats on all your well deserved successes, and I wish you all the best. I can’t wait to watch more of your youtube videos!

    Many blessings,

    Corrie Donovan

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Exquisite partners in every way .... !

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🎈 I can't even begin to describe how excited I am about the upcoming release of “Songplay” on @warner_classics . It's a truly unique project that unites extraordinary musicians from the worlds of opera, jazz, and tango in the pure pleasure of improvisation, experimentation, and exchange. Together we create our own musical language, surprising listeners with timeless melodies transformed and universal stories retold over centuries; songs in English, in Italian and – naturally – in the universal language of music. I had one of the most exhilarating musical weeks of my life recording the album #Songplay with a world-class band. Trust me: you’re going to remember each one of these guys! It’s an incredible family of musicians – bass, piano, trumpet, drums and bandoneon. We have essentially created our own sound-world, fusing together music from the Baroque era and classics from the jazz world – with a few other surprises tossed in,’ explains Joyce. ‘We’ve all let down our guard (some of us have even let down our hair) and we’ve each expanded the musical traditions that we have come from to create our own style for this album. It’s joyful, it’s exuberant, it celebrates great music, and it shines a spotlight on the timeless nature of a great song. I hope you’ll want to hear this album over and over, and will grow to appreciate the value of playing with a song! #Songplay - coming to you in February 2019. Stay tuned! Photo: @chrissingerme

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

~ Joyce DiDonato