This week, Joyce DiDonato’s performance of Berlioz’s La Mort de Cléopâtre (The Death of Cleopatra) with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Riccardo Muti will be broadcast on CSO Radio, available through May 3, 2020. Completing the program are two dramatic and evocative works about Rome: Bizet’s Roma and Respighi’s Pines of Rome.

Originally recorded at a concert in May 2019, Ms. DiDonato’s performance garnered critical praise from the Chicago Tribune:Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato made a compelling case for a lyric scene from Berlioz’s “The Death of Cleopatra,” thanks to the vividness of her imagination and her instrument’s tonal and expressive range. From the throaty low notes she produced at the beginning to the more stratospheric pitches that followed, she was in splendid voice. She also brought forth the dramatic meaning and subtext of this music, especially in the Meditation, as Cleopatra contemplates her imminent demise. DiDonato’s turbulent shifts from fortissimo to pianissimo and the chilling, otherworldly, utterly vibratoless high notes she offered at the end pointed to a singer whose remarkable instrument is governed by an equally agile intellect.”

Listen to the complete show via CSO Sounds & Stories or tune in to WFMT-FM (98.7) at 8:00 p.m. CST on Sunday, April 26, for the broadcast. For more information about the CSO Radio Broadcast Series, click here.

Photo: Todd Rosenberg