Händel: Furore - Mad Scenes From Operas

Erato | Track Listing

Christophe Rousset
Les Talents Lyriques

“…rare dramatic intensity and purity of tone… Pain mingles exquisitely with sorrow in her daring decoration of Scherza infida…”.”
–The Observer

“An apt title for this recital of arias from Handel Opera expressing fury and despair in music that veers from the ornate to the poignant. The American mezzo brings them all to life with singing of extraordinary expressive power and technical accuracy.”
–The Sunday Telegraph

–The Sunday Times

“DiDonato is in ravishing form and the diva’s fanbase will surely increase even more after the release of this recording.”
–Musical Criticism

About the album

This gripping recital of Handel mad scenes is the first release from American mezzo Joyce DiDonato as an exclusive artist for Virgin and EMI Classics.

Over the past five years DiDonato has enjoyed an uninterrupted series of triumphs as an opera singer and recitalist in Europe and the USA. As the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s magazine Opera News wrote: The buoyant progress of DiDonato’s career… has been one of the happiest opera events of the past decade.

At the heart of her stage repertoire are Handel, Mozart and Rossini, though it also embraces Donizetti, Bellini, Massenet, Strauss and modern works, such as Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. Her signature role is probably Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, which has taken her to New York’s Metropolitan, the Chicago Lyric, the Paris Opéra, London’s Royal Opera, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Houston, San Francisco, Bologna and Rossini’s birthplace, Pesaro. For her Met performances of Rosina in 2007, broadcast across the USA on HDTV, she received the prestigious Beverly Sills Award.

This recital of Handel arias with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques was recorded at concert performances in April 2008 at Brussels’ Theatre de la Monnaie. Reporting on the concert, Forum Opéra said: “The mezzo takes this repertoire seriously and she has the means to deliver on her promises … as she demonstrated in dazzling, often intoxicating fashion. The flexibility of her instrument is amazing; and as if her true, vital coloratura and her exemplary legato were not enough in themselves, she brings all her resources to bear on sculpting the music, throwing out brilliant top notes, venturing powerful crescendos and raising the stakes in virtuosity. She both surprises and delights …”

A highlight of the programme is Dejanira’s climactic scene from Hercules. DiDonato’s stage performance as Hercules’ wife at London’s Barbican, with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants (in a production also seen in France and the US), earned her a nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award. The Guardian commented that: ‘Joyce DiDonato gives the performance of a lifetime, hurling out coloratura with the fury of a psychopath before descending into insanity’. In late 2007 she assumed two Handel title roles: Alcina and, at the Geneva Opera, Ariodante, prompting Le Figaro to praise the “moving perfection of her line and her singing, which conveys the emotions of the betrayed lover and does justice to all the colours in the music.”

Joyce DiDonato’s recordings for Virgin Classics already include two appearances in Handel: Amor e Gelosia, her ravishing recital of Handel duets with soprano Patrizia Ciofi, and Radamisto, in which she took the title role. She was Ascanio in the complete recording of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini under John Nelson and Autumn 2008 brings an appearance in Lamenti, conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm. She also won high praise for her Elmira in the DG recording of Handel’s Floridante, and for her Eloquentia album of American songs, The Deepest Desire, which won a Diapason d’Or de l’année.

The Furore, programme will be toured in Europe and the USA with Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset

Album info

Release date: January 13, 2009
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Studio
Label: Erato