Best of 2019 – Highlights
Riccardo Muti, CSO and Itzhak Perlman top best classical concerts for 2019 – Chicago Tribune
- Riccardo Muti with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, May 2 in Orchestra Hall: There was an air of celebration and relief as Muti and the CSO played their first post-strike concert. The maestro led a radiant performance of a piece the orchestra hadn’t played since Theodore Thomas, its first music director, was at the podium in 1894: Bizet’s “Roma.” Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was radiant in a lyric scene from Berlioz’s “The Death of Cleopatra”; and the orchestra sounded sumptuous in Respighi’s “Pines of Rome.”
The Best Classical Concerts of 2019 – WQXR
- On Dec. 15 at Carnegie Hall, DiDonato delivered an inspired concept for Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise: Normally sung by men, DiDonato portrays the protagonist’s beloved as she reads his journal — each song one of the entries written as he trudges towards self-imposed isolation and death. Having sung Rossini for years, DiDonato gave the music great precision, warmly hugged by Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s rubato-prone pianism. But in the final song — a terrifying hallucination of a broken-down hurdy-gurdy man — the journal book was put away, with DiDonato experiencing it as if seeing the angel of death claiming her beloved. A stroke of genius. It’s available on video replay on Medici TV through March 16.
The 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2019 – The New York Times
Berlioz: ‘Autrefois un roi de Thulé’ – “La Damnation de Faust”; Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg; John Nelson, conductor (Erato). After setting a new standard in “Les Troyens” two years ago, Mr. Nelson is back with another immaculate account of a Berlioz masterwork. Two stars have returned as well: Michael Spyres as Faust and Joyce DiDonato as Marguerite, with a touching blend of hope and sad beauty in this lieder-like aria. JOSHUA BARONE
Fiona Maddocks’s best classical music of 2019 – The Guardian
- Agrippina at the Royal Opera House, London. Starry Handelian cast led by Joyce DiDonato in Barrie Kosky’s gleaming staging.
The Best Albums of 2019: Individual Writers’ Lists – Treble
- Treble contributor Konstantin Rega named Joyce DiDonato’s album Songplay one of the best albums of 2019.
Photo credit: Chris Singer