“DiDonato’s ravishingly beautiful account of Giovanni Paisiello’s aria “Nel cor più non mi sento” — a series of hushed, impeccably controlled melodic phrases delivered for maximum expressive impact — pointed toward something even deeper and more rewarding than the promised fun.”

Datebook, San Francisco Chronicle

“DiDonato conjured a nightclub atmosphere that was at once relaxed and rarefied, improbable and utterly convincing. Songplay fell into a groove of its own singular making, and pulled a grateful, at times wonderstruck, audience into its warm embrace.”

San Francisco Classical Voice

“Based on selections from the Italian art song repertoire, DiDonato’s 90-minute “Songplay” concert probed boundaries between classical and jazz idioms, looking for overlaps and opportunities to dissolve barriers altogether.”

Star Tribune

“Treating each of the popular ballads as miniature dramatic scenes, DiDonato mined the subtle passions of George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland.” “Will he like me” from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s 1963 musical She Loves Me was coy and innocent. So too was Duke Ellington’s “Solitude,” which the singer shaded in warm, plush tones.”

Boston Classical Review

“DiDonato’s “Songplay” program was a captivating medley of the beloved baroque and classical “arie antiche,” transported into delicious harmonic la la lands of sheer sonic whimsy. Whereas these melodies in their original setting require a measure of tasteful and elegant restraint, it turns out they are well served by the free-inprovisational style of jazz arrangements, where exaggerated fermatas, multi-octave glissandi, accented ostinatos and generous rubatti merely add to the spontaneity of singing, as if sung by someone unaware that she is being watched.”


“DiDonato herself is a performer of glorious voice and canny stage presence. Singing the Italian chestnuts, she was full-throated, without too much jazz affect save for some sly winks. The audience (mostly classical fans) giggled when she tacked on a vocal-jazz coda here and dueled with Porter there, growling out a few notes before embarking down a perfect chromatic stairstep scale and sliding the other way back.”

The Boston Globe