Songplay – coming to you in February 2019

Joyce DiDonato greets you with a song in her heart and twinkle in her eye. The American mezzo-soprano’s album Songplay unites extraordinary musicians from the varied worlds of opera, jazz and tango in the pure pleasure of improvisation, experimentation and exchange. Together they create their 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!’

On Songplay, along with her hand-picked band led by pianist and arranger Craig Terry, Joyce draws inspiration from Cavalli and Chet Baker in equal measure. The languishing heart in Giordani’s Car mio benis as emotionally charged as Jerry Bock’s hopeful Will he like me? Perhaps the most compelling reminder of how the music of Songplay breaks down barriers is from DiDonato’s experience leading vocal and composition workshops in the New York prison Sing Sing, where one of the men who is incarcerated was particularly moved upon hearing her rendition of Car mio ben: ‘I feel like I’ve known this song my whole life.’

Joyce DiDonato’s stellar credentials in Baroque and Italian arias didn’t stop her from exploring her beloved American Songbook alongside Haydn and Rossini for the GRAMMY Award-winning album Joyce & Tony: Live from Wigmore Hall. With In War and Peace, she demonstrated the healing power of music that brings people together on the path towards peace. This album picks up from that place of peace and leaps into the realm of joy: it is an all-encompassing celebration of song – one in which there are no boundaries or rules. Let’s play.

Joyce DiDonato, voice
Craig Terry, keys
Chuck Israels, double bass
Jimmy Madison, drums
Lautaro Greco, bandoneon
Charlie Porter, trumpet

Songplay on tour:
18 February 2019 – Taper Auditorium – Seattle
20 February 2019 – Zellerbach Hall –Berkeley
25 February 2019 – Ordway Music Theatre – St Paul
27 February 2019 – Oberlin Conservatory
1 March 2019 – NEC’s Jordan Hall – Boston
4 March 2019 – The Appel Room – New York
10 March 2019 – Richardson Auditorium – Princeton

Photo: Chris Singer

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TONIGHT we bring our #Agrippina to the @liceu_opera_barcelona for 3.75 hours of scheming da capos!! No puc esperar!!!! #elpoderabsolutcorrompeabsolutament #totiaixíaquestsrecitatius #diversíoperversa Photo: Javier Del Real @ilpdo

Close up of the print on my Agrippina Dress! I found the silk in #Shanghai and knew it was for this aspiring, conquering Handelian Roman!!! #dragonsandbuildingsandsilkohmy #abdolutepowercorruptsABSOLUTELY #norestforthewicked #rulersareyoutakingnote??

Last night I had the great, wicked joy of debuting the role of Agrippina with my beloved Il "Pomo d'Oro" orchestra and a wonderful cast. It’s going to be great fun getting to know her more and more ... not a moral fiber to be found in her!!!! Reminds me of a few people presently in power, no?? #absolutepowercorruptsABSOLUTELY #motheroftheyear #wheresmythrone #whatdoesagirlhavetodotogetacrown #thoserecitsthough 📸: @catecool

When I first flirted with the idea of taking on #Agrippina, it was asked of me, “But you do know she’s quite wicked, right?” Oh yes. I know. A new tour begins NOW with an extraordinary cast and my beloved partners Il Pomo d’oro with Maxim Emelyanychev at the helm. Between our limited 5-city tour, we are RECORDING!! • Handel: AGRIPPINA Luxembourg City • Madrid • Barcelona • Paris • London Il "Pomo d'Oro" orchestra @ilpdo @maxim_emelyanychev, harpsichord/director • Joyce DiDonato - Agrippina @LucaPisaroni - Claudio @elsabenoitsoprano - Poppea @xaviersabata - Ottone / Giunone Franco Fagioli- Nerone @andrewmastroni - Pallante @carlo.vistoli - Narciso Biagio Pizzuti - Lesbo • #BacktoHandel #Wicked #absolutepowercorruptsabsolutely #ihavealwaysbraggedabouthowmuchiloverecitative #timetoputmymoneywheremymouthis #HIGHDRAMA #handel @philharmonie_lux @teatro_real @liceu_opera_barcelona @theatre_champs_elysees @barbicancentre @askonasholt STYLING: @vitatzykun PHOTO: @chrissingerme

“I left my heart ... in Windy Chi-Town...” Aside from the glorious music making with the astonishing, treasured @chicagosymphony, it was this day at the Warrenville Juvenile Detention Center that stole my heart. I applaud the CSO and Maestro Muti for their commitment to bring their music to these beautiful kids, and I was deeply honored to sing for them. Seeing tears come to their eyes as they experienced Mozart first hand was simply life-affirming. As the beautiful girl in the yellow shirt told me afterwards as tears spilled from her eyes, “I don’t know what happened to me, but it feels like all of the anguish I’ve ever felt in my life came pouring out of that music.” Let’s not EVER underestimate the need for human connection in these kids’ lives. In a broken system and an often broken world, music and the arts are a bonafide, VITAL part of healing. How can you help? Photos: @toddrphoto

Can you #HANDEL the #glamour? You know you can’t!!! 🤓 Hotel room studying, people. It’s real, it’s thrilling, and it’s my most favorite thing everrrrrrrrrrrrr. [srcsm] #sheisNOTplayingaround #anythingforthethrone #andstillshepersisted #couldthereBEmorerecitative? #no #notherecouldnot #justtakethethronealready #GOTagrippinastyle #absolutepowerblahblah #historySUREDOESrepeat #andstill ... #thisroleisEPIC

Getting my Cléopâtre on! What a JOY to be back on stage with the singular @chicagosymphony making extraordinary music together. I’m so glad to be here.

I am thrilled to remain in the gorgeous world of Berlioz a while longer and look forward to singing his poignant cantata La Mort de Cléopâtre with the brilliant Chicago Symphony Orchestra​ and Maestro Riccardo Muti​ this week! May 2, 4 & 7: Orchestra Hall May 3: Wheaton College​ @chicagosymphony @riccardomutimusic Photo: Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune

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

~ Joyce DiDonato