Rolando Villazón, Marina Rebeka, Joyce DiDonato, Tara Erraught, Regula Mühlemann, Adam Plachetka. Chamber Orchestra of Europe, RIAS Kammerchor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Available July 6, 2018
This is the fifth installment of a series of seven Mozart operas by Yannick Nézet-Séguin for Deutsche Grammophon, in close collaboration with the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. This recording of La Clemenza di Tito, Mozart’s opera about the benevolent Emperor Titus who forgives an assassination attempt, features Joyce DiDonato as Sesto, Rolando Villazón as Tito, Marina Rebeka as Vitellia, Tara Erraught as Annio, Regula Mühlemann as Servilia and Adam Plachetka is Publio.
“Among the many sparkling facets of Joyce DiDonato’s artistry, her singing of Mozart repertoire perhaps does not receive the attention that her performances of Baroque, bel canto, and contemporary music justifiably garner. This is an inexplicable injustice, as her depiction of Sesto in this recording of La clemenza di Tito is a performance of the sort of psychological depth and technical confidence that only a truly great singer can muster. In the past few seasons, the mezzo-soprano has sometimes discernibly worked harder to conjure the musical magic for which she is renowned, but her Sesto is a reminder of the wisdom of singers like Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson, mistresses of other repertoire who insisted that periodically singing Mozart rôles is a soothing balm for the voice. Sesto’s music is daunting, but Mozart was too shrewd to write vocal lines that could not be sung.
After hearing DiDonato’s singing in the Act One Andante duet with Vitellia, ‘Come ti piace, imponi,’ doubting the veracity of Flagstad’s and Nilsson’s suggestion is unfathomable. Here and in the duet with Annio, ‘Deh, prendi un dolce amplesso,’ DiDonato’s vocalism is youthful, poised, and sincere: what artifice there is exists in the music. Weaving her voice into the colorful tapestry fabricated by Romain Guyot’s wonderful playing of the aria’s clarinet obbligato [his performance of the basset-horn obbligato in Vitellia’s rondò is equally superb], she delivers an astounding account of ‘Parto, parto, ma tu, ben mio,’ the crispness of her trills matched by the fluidity of her articulation of the triplet fiorature cresting on top B♭s in the fast-paced Allegro assai. Then, as Sesto wrests with his promise to slay Tito, she summons the potency of Greek tragedy in the accompagnato ‘O Dei! che smania è questa, che tumulto ho nel cor!’ The passage beginning with ‘Deh, conservate, o Dei, a Roma il suo splendor’ in the quintet is voiced with acute understanding of Sesto’s motivations and the conflicting loyalties that torment him.”
Voix des Arts
“Joyce DiDonato’s magnificently fiery delivery of Sesto’s ‘O dei, che smania è questa!’ accompanied recitative – its every word imbued with the same authentically Classical combination of urgency and deliberative detail that characterizes the mezzo’s recently recorded Berlioz Didon – and then unfolded with an increase of dramatic tension at each accumulation of voices and plot revelations.
This Sesto strikes me as DiDonato’s finest achievement on records so far, finer still than that admirable Didon”
Joyce DiDonato is, of course, a superb Sesto - so musically subtle, so dramatically sensitive - ...
Release date: July 6, 2018 Number of Discs: 1 Format: Live Label: Decca ASIN: B07CQKKF67
I arrive (nearly) to the end of this very full season, and it’s good moment to remind each of you reading this that YOU are the reason I travel the world, away from home for months at a time, working towards an unattainable perfection, exposed in ways very few people can imagine, singing the stories of characters searching for enlightenment/redemption/hope/relief/joy, and why I dedicate a large part of my life to this century’s old art form. I do it to entertain you at a minimum, but mostly to offer you comfort, to help us all join in a communal “event” that connects us across time and space despite our perceived differences, and I do it because I truly believe it makes the world a better place. I know you feel this most of the time as well. It’s likely what keeps bringing you back! I hope that after this season, perhaps you feel a bit more inspired to take what you receive as an audience member and activate that sensation in your own life, to bring hope and joy to the world around you. Don’t ever underestimate your power to do that - one doesn’t need the spotlight to bring transformation. #Songplay #Winterreise #Agrippina #Didon ✨
If this girl can do it, you can too!!!!!!! #belikeanant #heavyload #yourenevergivenanythingyoucanthandle #antsruletheworld #summerlovin
Grazie Mille @accademiadisantacecilia and the @baciopanino boys. What a JOY it was to perform with you all. Until the next time!
Celebrating #WorldOceansDay ... hoping every single one of you has the chance to swim in the vast blue ocean one day. Growing up in Kansas, I didn’t have the chance until I was in my 30’s, but when I finally did, an entire new universe opened right underneath me and I was changed. I’m so grateful for all that the planet’s oceans give to us. I want to be sure I’m doing all I can as a citizen of the world to take care of them and their vast, life-giving properties. Let’s get more informed and more active in protecting them and helping them thrive.
I was not prepared. The inspiration is through the roof to bring to life the towering cantata of #JoanOfArc tonight in the very cathedral de St. Denis, where she prayed for strength centuries and centuries ago. The same stones that received her pleas tonight will hear them again filtered through the mind of Rossini and the vibrations of those of us on stage. This, perhaps, is the thing I love most about the world of music - it connects us directly through time and space, and it shows us demonstrably how we are one. Ask me how much I love my “job”! @festivalsaintdenis @accademiadisantacecilia
#HowToFlower . . . What’s beautiful around you right now?
Grazie Mille, Roma. What a gift to be here for the briefest of moments - how much life we can find in the now!!!! #LightShower #Pantheon #Mystical #Luz #Luz #Luz #NoFilter #LookAround #Stopqndbreathe #batheinthelight #recoup #regenerate #batheingratitude #boydidtheromansknowhowtobuildabuilding #agrippinawashere #perfection #ladolcevita
And behind the scenes with Maestro Pappano and his @accademiadisantacecilia: a glimpse into the PROCESS which I love so much as we create our journey to prepare for the magic of the audience’s arrival. Thank you all for making our hard work so worthwhile!