About the album
Joyce DiDonato greets you with a song in her heart and twinkle in her eye. The American mezzo-soprano’s album Songplay unites world-class 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. 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 Caro mio ben is 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 divides 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 Caro mio ben: ‘I feel like I’ve known this song my whole life.’
The new release from mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato... is a stunningly beautiful and original affair. It’s also deliciously high-concept, to the point that you can’t quite believe she pulls it off.
DiDonato takes a handful of Italian Baroque numbers, beginning with excerpts from the “24 Italian Songs and Arias” collection that every vocal student has to get past, and recasts them as jazz standards – the rhythms loosened but still electrifying, the harmonies richly colored without straying too far from the original.
Datebook - San Francisco Chronicle
This album deserves to be heard by anyone who admires exceptional singing and instrumental craftsmanship, whether in opera, jazz or popular music.
Release date: February 1, 2019
Number of Discs: 1
Format: CD, mp3, vinyl
Label: Warner Classics/Parlophone