Opera diva Joyce DiDonato's quest for peace pushes boundaries
by David Gordon Duke
It’s always a red letter day when one of the world’s great divas comes to sing in Vancouver.
But it’s a special treat for savvy fans of classical voice that Joyce DiDonato makes the Orpheum the first stop on the North American leg of her In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music project with Il Pomo d’Oro chamber Orchestra — one of just seven performances and her only Canadian date.
A rare coloratura mezzo-soprano, DiDonato hails from Kansas, and honed her skills in Santa Fe, Houston, and San Francisco. Since 1998 she’s sung major roles with opera companies in the U.S. and abroad, with particular emphasis on bel canto and baroque repertoire.
Many singers at the very top of their game (and that defines DiDonato perfectly) might be inclined to play it safe when on tour. Not DiDonato. Her program is not at all a standard recital. A few weeks ago Postmedia News asked her about the project that is obviously very dear to her heart, starting with what inspired it.
“Quite simple: the state of the world today,” was the speedy reply. “I sense that we all are feeling quite inundated by the turmoil and chaos around us, and the danger is that we are starting to feel hopeless, feeling that we are merely victims of the current political (and) social climate. I want to use my music in a way that will speak directly to these concerns most of us are feeling today.
“I know that for many music lovers, music is often a decisive factor in facilitating a feeling of tranquillity. I simply want to refocus the spotlight on that potent power in a very direct way.”
Read the entire feature via the Vancouver Sun