“It was supposed to be one of the highlights of the classical season — and it actually was. Whatever it takes to create a sense of event and excitement was in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Tuesday night for the star turn of mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in Handel’s “Ariodante.”
The renaissance of baroque opera in America shows no signs of slowing down: Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon saw a sold-out performance of a four-hour Handel opera, in which Harry Bicket’s English Concert and Joyce DiDonato gave a performance so stunning it was liable to make even the most jaded of early-music skeptics take note …
In the middle of Handel’s “Ariodante,” the title character makes an uncomfortably convincing case for suicide. On Sunday, the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, singing the role in a concert performance of the opera with the conductor Harry Bicket and his English Concert chamber orchestra, held Carnegie Hall’s audience in thrall for nearly nine minutes as she wrung every bit of emotion from this music.
“With Didon, Joyce DiDonato continues the exploration of the great roles of the French repertoire recently initiated with Charlotte in Werther … Faced with this recent challenge, the singer finds unknown expressive resources, using changes of timbre to express the horrors in which the Queen of Carthage struggled. The abandoned woman then converses with the outraged queen in a scene of epic grandeur …”
“Champagne and yes more champagne were needed to mark the 30th anniversary of the Circle of the Grand Theater of Geneva! Indeed, the performance of the American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato would be breathtaking: sumptuousness of the timbre, sublime phrasing, vocally superlative and nevertheless without surprise, not preventing in any way a salutary relaxation, a simple and direct relation with the public, a generosity even in how to speak to us about the troubled times we are going through and the mistakes of humanity … a Diva yes, but committed.”
Joyce DiDonato, Dec. 2, Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall: It was one of those moments that seem to stop time: As part of her semi-staged “In War and Peace” concert, the great mezzo-soprano sang Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament.” The aria’s repeated lines of “Remember Me” have rarely sounded so touching, or so meaningful.
Joyce DiDonato has been a regular visitor to Carnegie Hall for some seasons now. On December 15, the industrious and remarkably thoughtful mezzo-soprano brought something completely original to the august hall’s stage. In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music marked a curated theatrical presentation blending vocal and instrumental music with dance, design, fashion, video imagery and what might be termed either politics or philosophy.
The Carnegie Hall Perspectives series provides artists with a blank slate, a freedom to mount dream projects upon the hallowed boards of the Perelman Stage. On Thursday night, it was Joyce DiDonato’s turn. The mezzo-soprano offered In War & Peace, a program of baroque arias with period ensemble Il Pomo D’Oro. To it, she added back projections, rock concert lighting and interpretive dance …
The New York Times
by James R. Oestreich
If the silver-throated mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato wants to sing glorious music by Purcell and Handel, I’m easy. Any old pretext will do. The pretext on Thursday at Carnegie Hall was “In War and Peace,” a well-traveled, predominantly Baroque program with the early-music band Il Pomo d’Oro, which has already been released on disc by Erato.