“The MVP of the night was Joyce DiDonato, who, at this point, is an American treasure. Last season she was the star of “The Hours” and that was no different on this night. From her opening “He will gather us around,” sung with the most delicate and thread-like sound, you were with her. There was both serenity and yearning in her singing, the contradiction perfectly establishing the character’s emotional journey throughout.”
“In a performance that conveys both unshakable conviction and intense fear, DiDonato proves to be the ideal Sister Helen. Her top notes waft over the audience, lighter than air and more delicate than gossamer — yet like Sister Helen’s faith, they never break.”
“This is, to be sure, DiDonato’s show: She barely ever leaves the stage, the action never escapes her purview, and she’s as bound to her sense of divine duty to De Rocher as De Rocher is to the consequences of his crime.
Her embodiment of Prejean (who made a surprise appearance onstage to close the curtain call) was exquisitely sensitive and impressively sturdy. A lesser actress could flatten Prejean’s devotion into a one-note performance, but DiDonato’s was richly nuanced, the contours of her voice frayed by doubt, her expressions of faith clear and convincing — especially in her recurring hymn (“He Will Gather Us Around”), invoked at the opera’s beginning and (stirringly) at its end. Truly some of the finest and most engaged work I’ve ever seen or heard from DiDonato, a singer with little left to prove.”
“DiDonato, the highlight of “The Hours” at the Met last season as a solemnly mellow-toned Virginia Woolf, manages the same magnetic self-possession here… Her diction is pristine…”
The New York Times