“The mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was Sycorax, costumed at first (by Kevin Pollard) in a ragtag robe, her head all unkempt braids, giving her a slightly Rastafarian look. She commanded the stage from her first showcase scene, when she plotted her revenge on Prospero in “Maybe soon, maybe now” (music from Handel’s “Teseo”), singing with cool control, then bursting into fearless flights of passagework.” ~ Anthony Tomassini The New York Times January 2011

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera © Ken Howard

“While Prospero’s wizardry may be spent, the cast members of The Enchanted Island work their own powerful magic. As the witch Sycorax, absent in The Tempest but very much to the fore in this retelling of its tale, Joyce DiDonato begins her first aria […] with a thrilling messa di voce, makes the vowel in “soon” sound with the direst, most roiling colors, and seems to start her cadenza singing in the bass register. She transforms trills into fiery brands of rage and yet, as she cradles her heartbroken son Caliban, summons her customary clear-as-sunlight tones. The unsparing ferocity with which DiDonato digs into her music and probes beauties both ravishing and terrible is Callas-like — a comparison invoked often and too lightly but here one richly deserved.” ~ Marion Lignana Rosenberg Classical Review January 2012

The best moments came from Ms. DiDonato, a tragic heroine adrift in a sea of comedy.”
~ Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal January 2012

DiDonato tears into the role of Sycorax with abandon, rolling on the floor and waving her arms as she plots vengeance against Prospero. But her most effective scene — and the emotional highlight of the evening — is a tender song comforting her son, whose heart has just been broken by one of the shipwrecked women.” ~ Mike Silverman Associated Press January 2012

“But not a single uncharged nanosecond came from DiDonato as the sorceress Sycorax; her exciting, accurate vocalism was matched by her knack for flamboyant theatrics.” ~ David Patrick Stearns The Philadelphia Inquirer January 2012

Photo ©Ralf Pleger

“Mezzo Joyce DiDonato displayed pinpoint agility and seemingly endless breath in Sycorax’s varied moods.” ~ James Jordan NY POST January 2012

“Joyce DiDonato cackled, curled and soared with virtuosic flair in the bitchy-witchy spasms of Sycorax.” ~ Martin Bernheimer The Financial Times January 2012

“Quant à Joyce DiDonato, Sycorax, elle est tout simplement prodigieuse. Quelle artiste exceptionnelle, quel timbre de miel et de feu, d’or et d’ombre. Rien ne résiste à sa virtuosité et tout s’efface devant son incomparable musicalité. L’émotion touche à son comble quand, mère blessée, elle tente de consoler son fils Caliban, souffrant du mal d’amour. C’est alors un privilège, grâce aux caméras, de détailler seconde après seconde, la succession des expressions sur son visage mobile. Musique et image deviennent magnifiquement complémentaires.” ~ Emmanuelle Giuliani La Croix January 2012

“Whatever one’s reservations about the Met’s cinema style – most remarkable is how the hearts of an audience several thousand miles away can stop for Di Donato’s ‘Hearts that love can all be broken’.” ~ Anna Picard The Independent January 2012

“In contrast to a work like Handel’s Giulio Cesare, in which the just nobles, Cesare and Cleopatra, are pitted against the wicked nobles, here symbolized by Ptolemeo, the nobility of The Enchanted Island was neither totally sympathetic nor totally antipathetic. Instead, each aria focused on the humanity of the emotions each character was feeling. In this light, Joyce DiDonato stole the show. Her opening aria, “Maybe Soon, Maybe Now,” showcased her ability to draw the emotive colors of Baroque ornamentation, which included growls.” ~ Greg Moomjy Opera Today January 2012