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 …
Her hair was up and frosted in regal fashion, and her features accented with slashes of silver makeup that suggested ’70s glam rock. An ethereal silver concert gown billowed, enhanced with glittering wraps that looked like watered silk. Eventually the lights dimmed further, the orchestra took the stage and the music began.
The expansive program alternated arias from Handel and Purcell’s operas and oratorios. The first half, War opened with “Scenes of horror, scenes of woe” with Ms. DiDonato’s gift for ornamentation accentuating the insanity and trauma of the character she played. Maxim Emelyanychevled the period orchestra from the harpsichord, with firm staccato rhythms and a powerful forward drive. Battlefield images overhead enhanced the martial nature of this aria, taken from a lesser-known Handel oratorio.
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