“Yankee Diva mezzo Joyce DiDonato transformed her 90-minute gig into a splendid showcase of her nontraditional musical tastes ranging from spellbinding 17th century Italian opera to an urgent world premiere composed in the past few months by an African American former prisoner.
The striking juxtaposition of the three numbers in the concert’s first section showed the fearless DiDonato at her most commanding. No easy-to-digest, lightweight opening set for her: she launched into the banished empress Ottavia’s bitter farewell “Addio Roma” from Monteverdi’s final masterpiece L’Incoronazione di Poppea accompanied by a spare continuo contingentfrom Pomo d”Oro. This jagged, charged recitative from opera’s earliest years was legions away from the “alluring and acrobatic arias” promised in the program’s description from the Met.
Acutely communicative across five languages, DiDonato conjured an enthralling theatrical experience in which the intended connections between pieces were sometimes tenuous but the overall effect was overwhelming.”
“DiDonato sings both “Voi che sapete” and “La Vie en rose” to perfection (not a word I use lightly, I assure you). Those are very different pieces, in very different styles (not to mention different languages). But DiDonato is exemplary in each.”
“However far she might literally have been from her online audience, Joyce DiDonato made her presence felt with immediacy – vocally, viscerally and with virtuosic impact. There are divas, there are drama queens, and then there is DiDonato, who evinces drama and stature, confidence and directness, and employs such qualities in the service of music.”
“Ms. DiDonato, vocally resplendent and expressive throughout, turned the 90-minute show into theater. Her first group was a powerful evocation of loss—a heartbroken “Addio, Roma” from Monteverdi’s “L’incoronazione di Poppea” was followed by a fierce rendition of Didon’s final scene from Berlioz’s “Les Troyens.” She finished the Berlioz on her knees, leaning against one of the sculptures, and segued right into an introspective Mahler song, “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.” The bleak light warmed up for her second group, about the consolations of nature: “Oh Shenandoah,” sung a capella, was followed by a magical “As with rosy steps the morn” from Handel’s “Theodora,” more Monteverdi, and a joyous “Dopo notte atra e funesta” from Handel’s “Ariodante,” displaying Ms. DiDonato’s formidable command of Baroque ornamentation. ”
“Mezzo Joyce DiDonato (JDD) set a new standard for the Met’s Live concert series (hosted by Christine Goerke) with a gorgeous recital from the Jahrhunderthalle… And she sounded marvelous: like a fine French sauterne, luxurious and full-bodied, sweet when called for and harsher when it fit the bill. Her coloratura was in fine form and her breath control was peerless.”