Drama Queens Tour in Asia
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE MUSCAT
‘The queens of Baroque opera had very dramatic lives, and American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato brought these famous queens to life in a dazzling concert at the Royal Opera House Muscat . . . It’s not often that Baroque music is played at the ROHM. This was the first opera recital dedicated to arias from the 17th and early 18th centuries, and who better to do it than the Grammy Award-winning DiDonato.
From the minute she began to sing, DiDonato captivated the audience with a performance that combined a sublime operatic voice and expressive characterisation. Her voice is full of vibrato, emotion, and sumptuous trills, while her stage presence is alluring. DiDonato’s strength is not just in her voice, but her ability to bring the various characters to the stage.
She embodied each of the queens whose roles she sang, from the angry, betrayed wife Ottavia, Empress of Rome, in Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea to the triumphant and romantic Berenice, Queen of Palestine from Giuseppe Maria Orlandini’s Berenice, a vibrant aria that showcased her impeccable trills . . .
Her emotive voice and acting skills convey the meaning of each song beautifully. Her encore of Reinhard Keiser’s “Lasciami piangere (Let Me Weep)” from Fredegunda was so bittersweet and pure that it was hard not to get teary-eyed listening to her . . .
“Handel must be dancing like crazy tonight. He would be so happy to know his music was being played in such a beautiful venue,” she said. Not only would Handel be impressed with the ROHM, but no doubt he would also be thrilled to see his music sung with the passion and beauty of Joyce DiDonato.’
Sarah Macdonald – Times of Oman
ESPLANDE CONCERT HALL – SINGAPORE
“Once in a long while, there comes a concert which so captivates its audience that people will be talking about it for a long time to come. This themed recital by American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, partnered by the Italian baroque ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro with leader violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky, held on Monday at Esplanade Concert Hall, in their first tour of Asia, was certainly one of these . . . DiDonato is already well-known among cognoscenti here, and her walk on stage was greeted with a chorus of approval even before she had uttered a single word. In eight arias from baroque operas, she sang the roles of queens and princesses, which she playfully described as, “painful, because of the beauty of suffering” . . . She is riding on the crest of a stellar career, and every breath, gesture and move was evident of that aplomb and confidence.”
Chang Tou Liang – The Straits Times
CULTURAL CENTRE CONCERT HALL – HONG KONG
“Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has provided one of the highlights of this year’s Hong Kong Arts Festival with a refined concert of baroque arias, backed by the esteemed Il Pomo d’Oro ensemble. The 46-year-old American chose a programme of royal-themed pieces, all taken from baroque works that portray queens or princesses . . .
In this setting, DiDonato’s spot-on coloratura and sensitive phrasing came to the fore. Few artists today take a chance to paint a phrase or evoke an emotion with so many stylistic colours. This was never so clear as in the famous Piangero, which she gave a new and special interpretation. Whether DiDonato was singing full out in the higher register or an emotional and from-the-heart pianissimo, she always made a great choice of colour to match the words and emotion of the phrase.
DiDonato . . . delivered three encore pieces, all as lovingly prepared and presented as any works on the printed programme.”
Brian Montgomery – South China Morning Post