JOYCE DiDONATO: “Cendrillon is the French girl who we here in America know as Cinderella. She’s a character familiar to so many of us because we grew up with her. We grew up knowing her loneliness, that she has been rejected by family, she has lost her mother and feels a deep sense of sadness about that. But she is also a girl who holds onto hope and who holds onto the idea that goodness and love really conquer. And in the story, she finds her prince—but what I like about this version is she’s not dependent on the prince. It’s not that she needs him to make her life complete, but she wants to love him, and it’s a beautiful, pure way of looking at the expression of love … She is a character I have sung for almost 19 years, and I hate to say it because it sounds like a cliché, but it’s impossible for me to sit here, knowing that I’m preparing this role for the Metropolitan Opera, and not feel like Cinderella. I came from Prairie Village, Kansas, and I thought I was destined to be a high school music teacher. I thought I would be living a life in the suburbs, very normal. Yet, when I went to college—and it sounds strange to say—but it felt like the stage really called me. I got bitten by the bug and it felt like home. It took me a little while to reconcile what felt like a very narcissistic lifestyle. But in the end, what I found is that, actually, I am in a position of service. Especially now, when we need music and the arts to open ourselves and open our channels to compassion and empathy more than ever. So, when I sing, it’s not about the spotlights—I mean, all that’s lovely—but it really is the privilege of being able to give people a hugely emotional and connective experience.”
The opera singer has been working with El Sistema Greece on workshops with refugee children from countries including Afghanistan and Syria: ‘El Sistema is building a cultural revolution here, through music education.’
Joyce DiDonato is one of the world’s greatest opera singers and she’s been lending her star power to a music education project working with refugee children in Greece.
The shortlist for the 40th Gramophone Awards includes mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, pianists Murray Perahia and Daniil Trifonov, Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium and Glyndebourne Opera. This year the Gramophone Awards is marking its 40th anniversary, and today the shortlist for the 2017 awards has been unveiled.
The nominees include mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato for her album In War and Peace, pianist Murray Perahia for his recording of J.S. Bach’s French Suites and the LSO – Classic FM’s Orchestra in the City of London – for a recording of works by Thomas Adès, conducted by the composer himself.
Ein Hotel am Bahnhof Zoo in Berlin. In Flipflops und einem Sommerkleid kommt Joyce DiDonato von ihrem Zimmer zum Interview in die Lobby. Die Mezzosopranistin ist für drei Konzerte in der Stadt. „Lassen Sie uns eine ruhige Ecke suchen. Ohne Hintergrundmusik“, sagt sie und lacht. Warmherzig wirkt die 48-jährige Amerikanerin, die im Oktober zum vierten Mal mit dem Echo Klassik ausgezeichnet wird.
“Joyce DiDonato arrived as Didon in Act III looking every inch the queen of Carthage, acknowledging her people with straight backed authority without losing a delicate feminine sadness over her solitude. Her blossoming relationship with the Énée of tenor Michael Spyres brought a duet of overwhelming sensuality … Just when “reserved” and “elegant” seemed apt words to describe DiDonato, the mezzo seized on the drama of the final act to unfurl a torrent of lustrous tone and unbridled commitment to set her performance of the Carthaginian queen beside the great interpreters of the role.”
Stephen J. Mudge – Opera News
“Ariodante on Carnegie Hall’s main stage on April 30featured a soaring, energized Joyce DiDonato and a uniformly strong cast under Harry Bicket’s expert direction. Listening to the thunderous ovations during and after the opera, one hoped that the managements of New York’s two leading opera companies would see from the wild success of Bicket’s local appearances with his English Concert that Handel has not only superb exponents these days but a highly motivated public who will travel and buy seats to hear his works.
The English Concert is just terrific—a fleet and accurate Baroque ensemble fully responsive here to the vocalism they supported. Bicket led from the harpsichord, which he played with great conviction. All the continuo players performed admirably; but one leaves Ariodante remembering the bassoon, and Alberto Grazzi handled his portion of the stop-time miracle of “Scherza infida” as deftly and expressively as did DiDonato, who blended bitterly enunciated consonants with seemingly endless breath support and legato ease. The mezzo sounded in peak form from her first mellow arioso, “Qui d’amor,” and gave a generous, deeply chiseled and resonantly projected reading of one of her great assumptions. For such heartfelt artistry and beauty of tone in such technically and psychologically remarkable music, what could one offer but grateful smiles (with a healthy admixture of tears)?”
“What a Sesto: Joyce DiDonato is an exceptional mezzo soprano: just as sensitive as it is moving, she crafts her arias with both variation and spritely coloratura.”
Alexander Dick – Badische Zeitung
“As Sesto, Joyce DiDonato brought a fresh interpretation to the role, in respect to both her musicality and interpretation….her Sesto was believable with both vocal commitment and commitment to the character, and her voice followed her intentions with aplomb down to the last detail. As with the other singers, the recitatives were full of life, either introspective, or interactive with the other singers, thereby contributing to the overall drama of the evening. Her two important arias, ” Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio” in Act I and “Deh per questo instante solo” in Act II, were clearly well thought out, and were greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.”
Michel Thomé – ResMusica (translated from the original in French)
La mezzo-soprano américaine Joyce DiDonato, marraine du projet El Sistema Greece, a donné gratuitement un concert pour les enfants réfugiés des camps d’Athènes. Dernier volet de ce carnet de bord.
“La mezzo de Kansas ha arribat a un punt de maduresa en el que pot prescindir de l’ortodòxia del cant o del so i, si ha de sacrificar-la per l’expressivitat, ho fa sense recança, per fortuna nostra. Una veritable exhibició de talent i personalitat.”