Joyce DiDonato launched a tour of Handel’s Alcina with a sold-out performance at The Barbican in London, with Maestro Harry Bicket and The English Concert (tour schedule). This spectacular evening of vocal fireworks set London ablaze, leaving critics and audiences “floored” by her performance:

“This might have been a concert performance, but from the moment Alcina and Ruggiero arrived centre stage for “Di’ cor mio” – with arms entangled and an exchange of lustful looks – it was clear these singers were going to give it their all. In fact, at times, the evening resembled a kind of sing-off, with soloists taking turns to up the ante with an affecting interpretation or a daring choice of da capo ornaments before returning, triumphant, to their seats . . . DiDonato gave the title role seductive malice, together with a voice of radiant beauty, and a dazzling technical display, from a heart-stopping messa di voce at the repeat in “Ah! Mio cor!” to the fireworks in “Ma quando tornerai”. Catch this if you can.”
Laura Battle – Financial Times

“Joyce DiDonato is perfect . . . it was Joyce DiDonato who held us in thrall. As the ruthless, desperate enchantress whose charms and powers are tragically fading, she radiated dazzling glamour and authority – abetted by a magnificent coiffure and some sumptuous Vivienne Westwood couture, as well as a regal deportment and command of gesture that was always histrionically appropriate. What more can one say about her singing that hasn’t been said a thousand times now? The word “perfect” might cover the matter, did it not suggest something frigid and contrived rather than something always born in the moment of its utterance. But surely her clarity of projection, control of dynamics, precision of articulation and range of colour are all beyond reasonable criticism: she is absolute mistress of her art, with an instrument totally obedient to her will. So if this isn’t vocal perfection, I don’t know what is.”
Rupert Christiansen – The Telegraph

“ . . . as Alcina she was vocally superb – flawless even– and musically intuitive . . . on stage she brought a sense of humanity – of womanhood – to the role that is often missing in other performances. There was a heartrending frailty to Si, son quella! and a real sense of anguish in Ah! Il mio cor – possibly one of the finest arias Handel ever penned – that completely floored me.”

“Vocal brilliance from DiDonato . . . The role is associated with high sopranos and she is a mezzo: it says much for her technique that she sounded comfortable in sustained passages in her upper registers; and it says even more for her originality that she frequently deployed vocal decorations below the melodic line rather than above it, often to startling effect.”
Tim Ashley – The Guardian

“DiDonato enchants in her first live Alcina . . . The success of the evening, however, really depends on its leading lady, and fortunately Joyce DiDonato did not disappoint. Five years after her successful recording with Alan Curtis, her voice and presence have grown to make the titular sorceress one of her most complete role assumptions to date. Appropriately dressed in a dramatic Vivienne Westwood gown that transformed every act, she fully realized Alcina’s pride, seductiveness, and ultimately, her crushing insecurity. Clearly in love with Ruggiero from the beginning, the extent of Alcina’s insecurity was made clear in a dangerously slow “Si, son quella”, and culminated in a devastating “Ah, mio cor” . . .  the role is an ideal fit for DiDonato’s voice, and allows her to use a broad spectrum of colours in all of Alcina’s six arias. She liberally ornamented her arias, but they were intelligent and in character rather than gratuitous.”
Kevin W. Ng – Bachtrack

“DiDonato’s zwischfach mezzo-soprano gave the simpler passages a highly sculpted quality (which matched the visuals). Everything was perfectly done . . . But when the going got tough, DiDonato really showed us her mettle. ‘Ah! mio cor’ was stunning . . . the passagework was vividly done, but it meant something. This continued in the last act where Alcina lets rip with ‘Ma quanto tornerai’, but the aria reflects how conflicted the character has now become, something DiDonato projected . . . it was DiDonato’s Alcina who dominated as she rightly should.”
Robert Hugill – Opera Today