“Best of 2017” Highlights

The Guardian – 10 Best Performances

Semiramide: Royal Opera House
Grand opera in grand style, with the grandest of divas, Joyce DiDonato.

The top 10 noteworthy moments in classical music in 2017 – The Washington Post

Great performances: The real reasons we care about any of this are the performances that enrich our lives — such as Joyce DiDonato’s outing in “Ariodante;” Opera Philadelphia’s brand-new blanket-the-zone opera festival; Barbara Hannigan’s luminous song recital; and the great Martha Argerich, illuminating Prokofiev’s third piano concerto.

Ten classical recordings that made 2017 a very good listening year – Chicago Tribune

Berlioz: “Les Troyens”; soloists, choruses, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, John Nelsons (Erato): At last, a modern digital recording of Berlioz’s epic French opera worthy of comparison to the two Colin Davis sets (1970 and 2001), and in some respects their superior. Taken from concert performances given in Strasbourg, France, in April 2017, the set boasts vividly dramatic conducting from Nelsons and compelling performances from Joyce DiDonato as Dido, Michael Spyres as Aeneas and Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Cassandra. Included is an 85-minute DVD of video highlights from the concerts. A magnificent achievement.

Recordings of the Year: Gramophone Magazine

A year that started with one of today’s finest violinists injecting vigorous new life into two of the most recorded concertos, the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, and ended with an astounding recording of one of the Everests of the operatic repertoire, Berlioz’s Les Troyens is a good one by any reckoning. Lisa Batiashvili and Daniel Barenboim prove that every generation of classical musicians has something new to say about the great works of the musical literature, just as John Nelson and a hand-picked, and magnificent, cast gave us a recording that it is hard to imagine being bettered.

The 25 Best Classical Music Recordings of 2017: The New York Times

BERLIOZ: ‘Les Troyens’ Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg; John Nelson, conductor (Erato). Berlioz’s epic opera has rarely been given such luxury treatment as in this magnificent live recording from France. Mr. Nelson, a “Troyens” veteran many times over, expertly handles the unwieldy score with help from starry singers like Joyce DiDonato, in her role debut as Didon, and Michael Spyres as Enée. J.B.

2017 in review / Andrew Clements’ top 10 classical CDs: The Guardian

Audio-only releases are now significantly outnumbered by DVDs of fully staged productions, too, even if those are sometimes of dubious quality. That made Erato’s Strasbourg-sourced version of Berlioz’s Les Troyens particularly noteworthy this year; new versions of repertory operas rarely seem to rival let alone supplant the established classic versions, but this Trojans, taken from concert performances by about as a good cast as could be assembled today and conducted by John Nelson, really has done that.

NPR Music’s Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2017

9. Strasbourg Philharmonic, John Nelson, et al. / Berlioz: Les Troyens

Grand opera doesn’t get much grander than Les Troyens (The Trojans), Hector Berlioz‘s musically audacious, dramatically majestic, four-hour, five-act, distillation of the fall of Troy and the Trojans fated journey to Italy. Needless to say, the opera rarely gets documented; it demands singers and players of extraordinary stamina and eloquence — and a ton of money. For this new recording, taken from live performances in Strasbourg, France, conductor and Berlioz specialist John Nelson helped arrange much of financing himself. His interpretation is taut, capturing the epic sweep of the narrative beautifully. His cast is terrific. From the frenzied warning cries of contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux as the Trojan prophetess Cassandra in the opening act, to the tenderness and fury of Joyce DiDonato as Queen Dido in the final chapters, the singing is both emotionally poignant and sumptuous. As Aeneas, the Trojan hero, tenor Michael Spyres shines with plenty of muscle, yet without the self-consciousness of the great Jon Vickers, who stared in the celebrated first complete Troyens recording in 1970 conducted by Colin Davis. Good as that one is, Nelson’s new performance might just top it.

CD & DVD: The Best of 2017 – Miami Clásica

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12 hours ago

Toi Toi Toi you gorgeous artists and heavenly theater folks!!!! https://t.co/6kfhATZiPg

23 hours ago

I’m going to need video. (And tell your students to sing out! 🤩) https://t.co/6vUYDquuNE

18 Sep

It only counts if I see the photos! :-) https://t.co/YQi4vlOC5r

FOLLOW Joyce DiDonato


Well, if it’s not a “Two Widows” Reunion!!!!! @operabrandon, what a joy to share the stage with you again after tw%#*y years! And here I am again, a W2BW! (Widow To Be Wooed) Bonus points for anyone who actually attended our *historic* performances in Smetna’s underperformed opera way back in 1998 in #Chautauqua!!! #Chautauqua2Carthage #Smetna2Berlioz #HappilyEverAfter2TotalDestruction

I could not be happier or more excited that our wonderful album of Les Troyens has been named “Recording of the Year” at tonight’s Gramophone Award ceremony. Thank you to the visionary and magical music-making of John Nelson, my fabulous cast members and to @warner_classics for in believing in this project. It has been a pleasure and an extreme privilege to be a part of it. THANK YOU!!! Viva Les Troyens and viva #Berlioz.

Tune in to Great Performances | PBS to watch @metopera #Cendrillon broadcast at 12PM ET today! ✨👠👸 Photo: Paola Kudacki / Met Opera #greatperformancespbs

What a perfect, beautiful, timely moment to embrace a fairy tale: don’t miss the Metropolitan Opera's heralded production of “Cendrillon” on @PBS Great Performances! Bask in the beautiful French melodies of Massenet. Laugh at the charming staging. Marvel at the gorgeous costumes. Revel in the soaring vocal lines of our brilliant cast. I’ve spent over 20 treasured years with Cinderella, and I’d love to share this final trip to the palace with you! @metopera @alice.coote @sblythe327 @sop_kathleen_kim #laurentnaouri @metoperachorus @metorchestra #bertranddebilly #laurentpelly

Happy Friday, everyone! I wanted to start the weekend with something special that I hope you’ll enjoy! In celebration of the release of my new album “Into the fire” featuring Jake Heggie’s profound song cycle about Camille Claudel, I created this playlist featuring some of my favorite tracks of Jake’s music. 🎧 Link in bio. He is not only a dear friend, he also captures human emotions so beautifully in this writing and I am always stunned by his sheer abundance of music ideas, languages and styles. I have been fortunate enough to sing a lot of his music throughout my career and I have so many beautiful memories of each and every one of his works I performed. I will never forget the profound impact on everyone in the cast and in the audience for each performance of “Dead Man Walking” and the wonderful humanity and insight into the life of a performer in “Great Scott”. Jake’s songs are part of almost every recital I give and I hope to be able to share how special his music is, via this playlist I created for all of you! @warner_classics @applemusic

I’m in LOVE with performing #Berlioz with @monteverdi_choir_orchestras (#ORR). Add into the mix performing at the @bbc_proms and I’m positively done. My personal recommendation is that you tune in tonight for a rousing listen on @bbcradio3!!! #colormelucky #tragicdeathxtwo #berliozrocksmyworld

Thank you #Hamburg and the stunning @elbphilharmonie for such a warm welcome last night. Congratulations on the start of another stunning season. An even warmer debt of gratitude for the stunning Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique and Sir John Eliot Gardiner for divine, powerful music making. Cléopâtre has never suffered such a brutal death!! Look out, #London: you’re next!! @bbc_proms

Hello from Hamburg! I am thrilled to start the 2018/19 season with two concerts conducted by the legendary Sir John Eliot Gardiner​ and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, tonight at @elbphilharmonie Hamburg and on September 5 at the @bbc_proms in London. I will sing Didon’s death scene from Les Troyens and La mort de Cléopâtre. The next two months are all about #Berlioz for me and I could not be more excited to sing this gorgeous music. 📻 Our concert at the @royalalberthall on September 5 will also receive a live broadcast on @bbcradio3. I hope you all had a spectacular summer. I am very excited to start this new season and I look forward to seeing you at one of my performances! Photo: @chrissingerme

#shattered #glass #beautyinthebroken #geometry #viennaairport #timetofly #aspsawait @bbc_proms #hereicome #queencleo #speakingofshattered ...... 😎💋😎

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

~ Joyce DiDonato