A TRILL RIDE
“She’s the hostess every American woman wants to be,” my friend said admiringly as the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato charmed the audience at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon with a stream of engaging commentary. Indeed, Ms. DiDonato seemed the perfect 21st-century diva — an effortless combination of glamour, charisma, intelligence, grace and remarkable talent.
~ Vivienne Schweitzer The New York Times March 2011
“Be they bored, rapt, or somewhere in between, everyone in a concert hall is moving together through the same two hours. The great achievement of a performance, though, is to suspend time so that everyone is existing, however briefly, in the same moment – a piece of distilled awareness in the form of sound.
It happened at the mezzosoprano Joyce DiDonato’s recital at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Tuesday night, more than once. Whether she was singing a dramatic monologue, such as Haydn’s challenging “Scena di Berenice” which opened the program, or a song by Cecile Chaminade, fleeting and iridescent as a soap bubble, DiDonato would find a phrase and sing so solidly to the heart of the music, luxuriating in each note, that the sound opened and breathed and blossomed. Rather than being propelled forward, everyone hovered in the moment, together, not wanting it to end.
This is an awfully high-falutin’ way to describe a singer who isn’t high-falutin’ at all. DiDonato, 42, has reached her current career heights – she’s one of the biggest stars in opera – precisely by being so eminently herself. She’s a down-to-earth presence, giving not artifice, but herself, whether in music, in spoken interludes between her sets, or even, offstage, on the blog (“Yankee Diva”) she’s kept for years.”
~ Anne Midgette Washington Post February 2011
“On Friday night, American mezzo Joyce DiDonato added her name, triumphantly, to the Hyde Park honor roll before a sold-out house that included enough young musicians and student fans that you could almost believe that solo vocal performances could be making a comeback.
As with everything DiDonato does, communication — personal, musical and emotional — is more important than theatrics. She’s a natural onstage, in part because you have the feeling that she is never acting.”
~ Andrew Patner Chicago Sun-Times February 2011
DiDonato seems able to do just about anything vocally. With delightfully down-to-earth comments along the way, plus two drop-dead gowns, she had the audience in her hand.”
~ Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News February 2011
“Tuesday night, on the Cliburn series at Bass Performance Hall, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and pianist David Zobel proved that the fine old art of standing in front of an audience and singing art songs and arias is not just an exercise in showmanship, but a commendable means of artistic and intellectual expression as well.
…as with Sutherland, the personality is just the platform for a voice that combines an incredible and distinctive beauty with an instinctive sense of character and drama—a sense that contains but transcends intellect.”
~ Wayne Lee Gay, Front Row February, 2011
“It’s always a special occasion when mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to town, but scheduling a performance on Valentine’s Day weekend (which just happens to coincide with DiDonato’s birthday) raised the bar significantly.
Sunday afternoon’s performance sponsored by the Harriman-Jewell Series at the Folly Theater surpassed the hopes and expectations of even the most ardent fans of one of the world’s most successful and popular singers.” ~ Timothy McDonald Kansas City Star February 2011