Rossini: Colbran, The Muse (Opera Arias)

Erato | Track Listing

Edoardo Müller
Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale de Santa Cecilia

“Another bull’s eye from the wondrous Joyce DiDonato”
“Colbran evidently knew no limits when it came to interpretation or vocal range; neither does DiDonato”
“Today’s gold standard”
– David Shengold, TIME OUT NY

Positively addictive.
– Opera News

“This is a superior disc of repertoire vital to an understanding of Rossini’s operatic legacy, and it belongs in every bel canto collection.”
– David Laviska,

“An astonishing artist at her peak.”
– Classic FM, December 2009

“Colbran: the Muse: The New Yorker’s “Best CD of 2009 !”

“Top 10 Classical Recording of 2010” ~ NPR, Chicago Tribune

About the album

Is Joyce DiDonato the world’s best Rossini singer?, asked the New York magazine Opera News after the American mezzo sang the finale of La Cenerentola at Carnegie Hall in January 2009. That title certainly seemed hers by sovereign right, it continued; Her phrasing was silky, her timbre rich and glowing, and her ornaments were impeccably stylish and utterly beguiling. Most impressive was DiDonato’s combination of immaculate technical control with an air of wild, unstoppable joy. This was truly a moment to treasure from an artist who is at the very top of her game.

If La Cenerentola does not appear in this new recital, recorded in Rome in June, DiDonato’s other signature Rossini role holds a place of honour: she has been described by the UK’s Sunday Times as the world’s reigning Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. In 2009 alone she sings the role in Vienna, London (to be recorded for DVD by Virgin Classics) and New York, and in recent years it has also taken her to Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Houston, San Francisco, Bologna and Rossini’s birthplace, Pesaro.

Rossini’s two best-known comic operas proved essential in building the Kansas-born singer’s reputation over the last decade, but this recital focuses primarily on his serious works , although tensions run less consistently high than in DiDonato’s first Virgin Classics recital: Furore, the Handel programme released last year and described by The Daily Telegraph as an exhilarating roller-coaster of a recital from a charismatic singing-actress.

To make a recording of Rossini arias is a true dream for me, says Joyce DiDonato. His works have been hugely responsible for giving me the opportunity to break into this crazy opera world, and they have given me such incredible joy on the stage. I wanted to take this wonderful opportunity to show the wide, surprising range of his compositions. He was incredibly inspired by his wife, Isabella Colbran the reigning, supreme diva of her day and to explore some of the nine roles he wrote for her. I think it will afford wonderful insight into how a composer is inspired by a particular muse, to hear how Isabella ignited incredibly creative forces in him. She was widely hailed in her relatively short career for her incredible range not only vocal, but dramatic too and that will be evident here as we explore the heartbreaking pathos of Desdemona, the hopeful triumph of Semiramide, and the unleashed power of Armida.

This programme includes two arias from La donna del lago, which DiDonato is scheduled to sing over the coming seasons in Geneva, Paris, Milan and London. She takes the role of Elena � written for the soprano Colbran, but a great success in the 1980s for DiDonato’s idol, fellow high mezzo Frederica von Stade. Apart from Rosina’sUna voce poco fa, the other arias on the CD, from Otello, Semiramide, Armida, Maometto II and Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra, were also composed for Colbran.

DiDonato proved that she can triumph in music written for soprano with her recent complete recording of Handel’s Alcina and her debut last year in the role of Mozart’s Donna Elvira; the performances at London’s Royal Opera House prompted The Guardian to describe her as the real star , singing her first Elvira and nailing even the topmost notes, while The Daily Telegraph praised her performance in a similar vein:The star of the show was Joyce DiDonato, who sang Elvira with a style, sensitivity and bravura that outclassed everyone else on stage.

To return to Rossini and Rosina, the role for DiDonato’s debut at the Vienna State Opera in April 2009, the Wiener Zeitung had this to say: “She tossed off crystal-clear coloratura, presented a dark, secure low register, a confidently nuanced mid-range, bright and voluminous high notes – in short, everything that makes for great, modern bel canto style. She appears undaunted by the role’s many technically tricky passages, and even more, she sang musically challenging variations on every repeated phrase, shaped every single bar with brio, and presented a psychologically multi-faceted characterisation with wildly joyful abandon.”

Album info

Release date: November 2, 2009
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Studio
Label: 1