New York Times | By KATRINE AMES
DESPITE her best efforts — and she almost certainly sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” better than any other fourth grader in Prairie Village, Kan. — Joyce Flaherty did not grow up to be a pop star. In college she ached to be the world’s coolest high school music teacher: another dream gone bust. Instead, she became what even she could hardly have imagined a decade ago: Joyce DiDonato, gilt-edged opera star.
Over eight days last January in New York, Ms. DiDonato, 40, showed precisely why she is on the A list of mezzo-sopranos. The run began in Carnegie Hall with a formidable show-closing delivery of “Tanti affetti” from Rossini’s “Donna del Lago” at Marilyn Horne’s 75th-birthday concert. Later that week Ms. DiDonato sang a Handel recital at Zankel Hall, offering an explosive display of coloratura agility and dramatic heft. Twelve hours later she was the on-screen host of the Metropolitan Opera’s high-definition transmission of Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice.” The next afternoon she was back in Carnegie Hall, with the Met Orchestra conducted by James Levine, in an animated performance of Rossini songs and a Mozart concert aria. The reviews were dazzling.