Having watched Joyce DiDonato break a leg at Covent Garden – and go on singing superbly as if nothing had happened – it was no surprise to find her effortlessly dominating a Prom a few weeks later.
And with just four pieces: two recitatives from Haydn’s ‘Berenice’, and two sulphurous arias by Handel. If the emotions in Haydn were classically contained, in Handel they all but blew the roof off. First ‘Ombra mai fu‘ to soften us up, then Alcina’s ‘Ah! Mio cor‘ – the expression of a nakedly suffering soul, which this fiery Kansas mezzo turned into burnished gold. The hall loved her pure and forceful sound – brilliantly set off by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Roger Norrington – and gave it generously back.
–Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard, August 26, 2009