Chicago on the Aisle
by Nancy Malitz
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Below is a sampling of top digital picks for the month, streamed live and often replayable at your command. There’s a Wagner “Ring” cycle from Vienna, a world premiere cello concerto from Detroit, and master classes par excellence from Carnegie Hall. With much of the North American continent knee-deep in snow and an Artic blast on the way, it’s a good time to check out this digital world.  Joyce DiDonato’s recent Carnegie Hall master classes are full of solid gold advice, and they’re at for viewing free after registering. I’ve been devouring DiDonato’s classes for several years now, and they exemplify the transformative power of a good teacher.The brilliant mezzo-soprano works with emerging singers of all voice types, three or four in a session, on arias they are likely to be singing soon as they emerge into the professional world. She helps her charges to get inside a character, to use breathing to propel momentum, to practice “trill drills,” and to savor the roll of a vowel in the mouth, or whatever else occurs to her as she listens each young singer.

Here’s a classic sample from one of the first lessons I witnessed, several years back, when DiDonato disarmed a mezzo-soprano working on Sesto’s aria “Svegliatevi nel core” from Handel’s Giulio Cesare. The young artist’s interpretation went from almost flighty to downright touching in the space of half an hour.

Read the entire feature here.