Joyce DiDonato’s latest release on the Warner Classics/Erato label, a 2-CD set titled Joyce & Tony – Live at the Wigmore Hall, will be available for sale worldwide on August 28 and is now available for preorder via Amazon.co.uk. As a preview for her fans, she is releasing pieces of the cover art via social media, with the full cover to be released publicly on June 19. Follow Joyce on Twitter (@JoyceDiDonato) and Instagram (@joycedidonato) and search the hashtag #FridayReveal to see the selections!
Joyce & Tony – Live at the Wigmore Hall features a live recording of Joyce’s recital with Sir Antonio Pappano at Wigmore Hall, which opened the venue’s 2014-15 season. The album highlights music from a wide range of composers, including gems of the Baroque era from Haydn and Rossini, to contemporary works from Kern and Bolcom. Critics showered the performance with praise:
“The Wigmore Hall’s 2014-2015 season opened to a packed house last week with two concerts given by that most radiant of opera stars, American mezzo Joyce DiDonato. An added draw was her accompanist, Sir Antonio Pappano, the Royal Opera’s music director who arrived from conducting an eight-hour rehearsal at Covent Garden . . .
First aria at Wigmore Hall was the virtuoso lament from Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos that displayed DiDonato’s dazzling vocal technique . . . She captured the mischievous wit of the chorus girl’s plaint “Life upon the wicked stage” from Kern’s Show Boat and leant seductively against the piano from the Siren’s song from Leave It To Jane.”
Clare Colvin – Sunday Express
“Such is her respect for her audience, she knew everything by heart; the scores were in her head, not her head in the scores, unlike so many of her colleagues. The simple, unpretentious way she talked to her enthusiastic audience between groups of songs won everybody’s heart.
She has the talent of a diva, but doesn’t behave like one. This was an evening of such pure joy that it should be available on the NHS as an anti-depressant. Everybody loved it, especially her pianist, Sir Antonio Pappano, another artist for whom warmth and a ready smile are second nature . . .
More recitals like this please, where serious artists can embrace the great American songwriters, who are more than worthy of their attention.”
David Mellor – The Mail on Sunday
“Their recital, given twice, opened the Wigmore Hall’s new season to thunderous applause.Both performers were funny and versatile, with Pappano leaving DiDonato to make the jokes, yet in his silence being just as comic himself … Yet they delivered it all with comsummate wit and intelligence, and witnessing Pappano at the piano is always unmissable . . . Expect fireworks.”
Fiona Maddocks – The Observer
“If you’re going to open the new concert season before the Proms have finished, it helps to start with a pretty big bang. And Wigmore Hall on Saturday offered two of them: Joyce DiDonato, mezzo diva supreme, and Antonio Pappano, golden maestro and piano accompanist to the stars. Matching their personal backgrounds, the programme’s love songs, cannily chosen, formed another couple: Italian-language fare for the first half; American material for the second.
“That’s as mad as we get!” DiDonato bubbled as the building resettled into its foundations after her incandescent account of Haydn’s cantata Arianna a Naxos. Daring vocal pirouettes, vivid acting, wide dynamic swings, amazing breath control: all had been masterfully blended.”
Geoff Brown – The Times
“The American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato brings the house down 10 times running with this string of pearls from luxuriant 19th-century Italian operas. Familiar gems from Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini are lit up by fireworks from the less well-known Pacini, Mercadante, and Valentini. From Carafa’s Le Nozze di Lammermoor of 1829, “L’amica non torna” and “Oh, di sorte crudel” feature a delectable clarinet obligato from Jean-Michel Bertelli.
Thrilling drama, pinpoint precision, sensuousness, and even a broad masculinity as Romeo in “Tu sola, o mia Giulietta…”, from Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, make this a hard act to follow.”
Claudia Pritchard – The Independent on Sunday
“The opening night of the Wigmore season brought together two leading peformers in a programme that suited them both perfectly. It was comprised of an almost entirely Italian first half, followed by a second consisting of American classics. Expert in her textual definition in both languages, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was persuasively communicative in music ranging from Haydn to Jerome Kern.”
George Hall – The Guardian
“Whatever she sings, however, DiDonato is one of the great musical communicators of our time, […] Anyone in need of evidence of DIDonato’s passion as performer should watch her delivering this summer’s graduation address at the Julliard School. It is a tour de force, a spirited and spectacular defence of all that is best about working in the performing arts […]
DiDonato’s Rossini songs had her completely in home territory, with flawless phrasing and rubato, and the first half closer, the Neapolitan song “Non ti Scordar di Me”, was highly effective […]
It was a joyous evening and an auspicious start to the new Wigmore season.”
Sebastian Scotney – The Arts Desk