Joyce DiDonato and John Gardiner at the BBC Proms

“The centrepiece of the programme was a complementary pair of death scenes featuring Cleopatra and Dido, sung by Joyce DiDonato. In this vast hall it is arguable that a larger voice is needed to rise to the tragic immensity of these utterances, but the ardour of her singing brought every word to life. La mort de Cléopâtre, with its shuddering end as the asp’s poison takes effect, took musical effects to the extreme. In Dido’s last aria from Les Troyens DiDonato and Gardiner combined to achieve an electric sensitivity.”

Financial Times

“Joyce DiDonato brought to life the tragic ends of two queens of antiquity with her inimitable brand of generosity, insight and theatricality. Her singing encompasses the idiomatic drama and conversational directness of the recitative passages and she has at her command a huge range of shade, nuance and weight, unfussily deployed and always hitting the emotional bull’s-eye. Her exquisite portamento-dips into her lower voice are charged with eroticism, Gardiner’s direction of Cleopatra, bitten by the snake, fading out of life was very affecting, and pleasure would be complete if DiDonato’s voice was just a bit more luxurious. In between came the ‘Royal Hunt and Storm’ interlude from The Trojans, with some powerful Nature music, birdsong, and hunting calls from an impressive quartet of saxhorns moving around the stage, not forgetting an unseen wordless chorus.”

Classical Source

“Joyce DiDonato gave a dramatic performance, full of arresting detail and a vivid attention to the words. She was complemented by the timbres and textures of the orchestra, everyone making the music full of quick changes of mood. The death scene at the end was terrific.

We plunged on directly to Dido’s death scene, with Joyce DiDonato rushing on during the prelude. She gave us fluidly shaped recitative, complemented by the colours in the orchestra. She made a passionate and dignified Dido, with touching references back to the love duet.”

Opera Today

“Commanding the stage with the cantata La Mort de Cléopâtre (“Cleopatra’s Death”), Joyce DiDonato suffused her instrument with the cavernous, brassy weightiness of the Egyptian queen’s dominance, enhancing the pit of her register with propulsive and eerie vibrato.

Unwinding words such as “vaincue” (“conquered”) and “déshonorée” (“dishonoured”) with sly diminuendi, DiDonato delineated the queen’s acrid shame before the loss she can scarcely admit: her and Mark Antony’s defeat by Augustus at the Battle of Actium.

As she reminisced about past glories with the phrase “Ah! Qu’ils sont loin, ces jours” (“Ah, far gone are those days”), DiDonato not only enhanced the word “jours” (“days”) with a lengthy, plaintive diminuendo, but delayed the second note with a languorous portamento symbolic of Cleopatra’s compulsion to hold on to nostalgia. Similar tactics were applied to other pairs of long-held notes to manifest the queen’s lengthy postponement of her journey from denial into reality.

Another ancient heroine was captured vocally in DiDonato’s execution of Dido’s suicide from the bombastic opera, Les Troyens. Here was another vanquished legendary queen forced to confront her conquest by the enemy: this time a sexual one. Plagued with remorse for having welcomed Aeneas and the Trojans to her land of Carthage and fallen in love with the hero, Dido pledges to kill herself.

With a tiny voice of humility DiDonato’s Dido proclaimed: “Je vais… mourir…” (“I shall die”), and referred to her traitorous lover Aeneas as her “bûcher” (“butcher”) with both hesitation and shock in a slow-evolving, subdued instrument.

Exhaustion from Dido’s ordeal was discernible in her wearied approach to the words “Inutile prière” (“Futile prayer”), where a tapering portamento made the second word sound like the heroine’s fast-dropping strength. Parting with her land was bitter sorrow as Dido bade farewell to Carthage and its stars (“Adieu beau ciel d’Afrique, astres que j’admirai”), and DiDonato fashioned her voice so that it shrunk into near-nothingness with sustained reticence; stayed surrender.”

Broadway World UK

20 hours ago

#Songplay has arrived! It was such a joy to start this tour at the @seattlesymphony and to bring our songs to you!… https://t.co/UXeBkjfPBn

19 Feb

March 4, baby!! https://t.co/CRGkYXKTbv

18 Feb

Letting their lights shine and shine and shine!!! Shine on, superstars!!!!! @brownleetenor ericowensopera… https://t.co/KG5rbmb74c

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#Songplay has arrived! It was such a joy to start this tour at the @seattlesymphony and to bring our songs to you! An endless shout-out to this SUPERLATIVE band. What a lucky girl, I am!! Bravo #craigterry @hotlipsporter @lautaro_greco #chuckisraels #jimmymadison Thanks for the gorgeous welcome, #Seattle, and hope to see you all at a city near you!!! #playwiththatsong #yougottalovetobeabletoplay #withasonginmyheart photo: Peter Dervin

Kicking off our #Songplay tour @benaroyahall in Seattle TONIGHT!!! • More tour dates: Feb 20 • Berkeley, CA @cal_performances • Feb 25 • St. Paul, MN @schubertclub • Feb 27 • Oberlin, OH @oberlincon • Mar 1 • Boston, MA @celebrityseries • Mar 4 • New York NY @lincolncenter • Mar 10 • Princeton NJ @princeton • ★★★★★ “This album deserves to be heard by anyone who admires exceptional singing and instrumental craftsmanship, whether in opera, jazz or popular music.” ~ @dailymail #yougottolovetobeabletoplay • Photo: @chrissingerme 🎩🎈💋 • 🎶 Listen to the album here: 🔗 link in bio.

Letting their lights shine and shine and shine!!! Shine on, superstars!!!!! @brownleetenor @ericowensopera #craigterry @benaroyahall Thank you for the #soulfood

★★★★★ "Mind-blowing performances that, I wager, would bring even the most discerning jazz club audience to their feet." ~ @dailymail #Songplay I'm game!!! We start on Monday at @benaroyahall!!! We. Can. Not. Wait!!! #yougottolovetobeabletoplay photo: @chrissingerme 🎩🎈💋

#Songplay 4 #Playbill!! I love it!

🎈Take a look behind the scenes of our fabulous photo shoot shot by the divine Chris Singer at the @houseofyesnyc in Brooklyn. Like the recording, it was the most fun I’ve ever had on a shoot thanks to the extraordinary creative team! Take a look! Take a listen. Share your favorite track! 🎶❤️🎉💃 Songplay is available worldwide today. • 🎧 Listen to the album here: 🔗 link in bio. • • 📷 Photography: @chrissingerme • 🎥 Video: @iamkarinsinger • 💍 Jewelry: @tamsenznyc • 👗 Gowns: @viviennewestwood • 🎨Art direction: @catecool • 🎩Styling & set design: @vitatzykun • 💄Make-up: @glowbyaffan • 📀 Album artwork: @lennysstudio • • The beauty of old Italian melodies, the charm of American classics, the swing of jazz... fusing sounds and styles without limits 🎤🎷🎹🎻🥁🎺• • It has been some of the most joyous music making of my life!! ❤️❤️😃😃🥰🥰 @warner_classics #NewMusicFriday @warnerclassicsus

“You got to love to be able to play.” - Louis Armstrong 📣 My new album 🎩 #SONGPLAY is now available worldwide! 🎙️ Listen here 🔗 link in bio. 🎈 🎈🎈🎈#Playwiththatsong 💄💄💄@glowbyaffan 👗👗👗@viviennewestwood 📸📸📸 @chrissingerme 🎨🎨🎨 @vitatzykun 💽💽💽 @lennysstudio

#Elated #Ecstatic & #ExquistelyExcited for my upcoming #CHPerspectives as part of the #CH1920 Season. These partners? This music? That stage? I’m going all out!!!!! @chicagosymphony #Berlioz150 #CleopatreRules #MaestroMuti @orchestre_metropolitain @nezetseguin #MozartRules #SoDoesSchubert #Winterreise #shespokeoflove #SongsForJoy #OdeToJoy #MasterClasses #Singersrule @medici.tv #itsallaboutthejourney #SoireeTime #BrentanoQuartet @emmanuel_ceysson @mcgillclarinet #WHAAAA? #DebussyRocks #MyFavoriteThings @ilpdo @maxim_emelyanychev #MonteverdiRocks #GluckRocks #HandelObviouslyRocks #PurcellIndubitblyRocks #myhandhurtsfromallthehashtags

A million heartfelt thanks to the extraordinary team at the @abudhabifestival for the unforgettable stay here and the powerful connection in the concert. More to follow, but for the moment my heart is overwhelmed at these last 3 weeks touring such extraordinary cities and venues. It is all imprinted deeply in our hearts. This is a world full of unimagined potential. #TalkPeace #DoPeace #LivePeace

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

~ Joyce DiDonato