Concert Versions Take Opera to a More Personal Level
The New York Times
by David Belcher
“When I look at an opera in concert, I want to help the audience enter the world of that opera through a character,” Ms. DiDonato said. “When ‘Alcina’ came up I thought this was perfect for Vivienne Westwood, who designed my gown for my ‘Drama Queen’ tour, so I explained the character to her,” said Ms. DiDonato, referring to her 2012 album.
“Alcina starts in this hugely powerful mode, sexual and sensual,” she continued. “But she loses her power as the opera goes along. So the gown is sort of like a metallic rocker mode. It was meant to shed layers as she loses her power. By the end, she is almost in rags.”
Ms. DiDonato’s approach, complete with an almost punkish hairdo to accompany the Westwood gown, is part of a trend to spruce up the normally placid concert approach.
“I’m on a mission that I think the traditional concert needs a bit of help right now,” she said. “The music doesn’t need to be transformed, but a concert needs some pizazz. You usually have flat lighting, which you don’t have in pop and jazz concerts. A modern audience just needs a bit of help in a visual sense.”
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