Joyce DiDonato

Introduction

“The staggering, joyful artistry of Joyce DiDonato reminds us that in any generation there are a few giants. Joyce is not only a great, brave and inspiring artist – one of the finest singers of our time- but she is also a transformative presence in the arts. Those who know her repertoire are in awe of her gifts, and those who know nothing of it are instantly engaged. Joyce sings and the world is suddenly brighter. She compels us to listen actively, to hear things anew.”
Jake Heggie, Gramophone

Multi Grammy Award winner of the 2016 Best Classical Solo Vocal Album (Joyce and Tony: Live at Wigmore Hall) and the 2012 Best Classical Vocal Solo, Kansas-born Joyce DiDonato entrances audiences and critics across the globe in operas by Rossini, Handel and Mozart and as a fierce advocate for the arts.

DiDonato’s acclaimed discography includes Grammy-Award-winning Diva Divo, Drama Queens, ReJoyce!, and most recently Stella di Napoli (Erato/Warner Classics). Other honours include the Gramophone Artist of the Year and Recital of the Year Award, three German Echo Klassik Awards for Female Singer of the Year, an induction into the Gramophone Hall of Fame, and Best Female Singer of the Year at the 2016 Spanish Opera Awards Premios Líricos Teatro Campoamor.

Highlights of DiDonato’s 2016/17 season include her debut in the title role of Semiramide at the Bavarian State Opera under Michele Mariotti; the title role in Ariodante on tour with the English Concert and Harry Bicket; Dido (Les Troyens) under John Nelsons in Strasbourg; Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito) under Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Baden-Baden; as well as concerts with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra/Ludovic Morlot, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Riccardo Muti, the Berlin Philharmonic under Nézet-Séguin; and a recital with Philippe Jordan at the Opera de Paris.

This is for information only. Please download DiDonato's biography from the Publicity Pack.

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  • JUILLIARD SCHOOL
    Commencement Speech

Schedule

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

HANDEL: Overture from Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
HANDEL: Entrance of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon
PACINI “Ove t’aggiri, o barbaro” (“Where are you, O cruel man?”) from Stella di Napoli (“Star of Naples”)
HANDEL “Ombra mai fu”, Aria from Xerxes, HWV 40
ROSSINI “Tanti affetti” (“So many emotions”) from La donna del lago
-Interval-
Trad./FREDERICK WEATHERLY “Danny Boy”
RODGERS/HAMMERSTEIN “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel
BERNSTEIN: Overture from the West Side Story
BERNSTEIN/ SONDHEIM “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story
ARLEN/GEORGE GERSHWIN/ GERSHWIN “Embraceable You” from Girl Crazy
BOLCOM: Ragomania, A Classic Festival Overture

MEZZO-SOPRANO: JOYCE DIDONATO

CONDUCTOR: LUDOVIC MORLOT
Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Lufti Kirdar Congress Centre, ISTANBUL

ROSSINI William Tell Overture (Orchestra)
PACINI Stella Di Napoli
MOZART Non Piu Di Fiori
MOZART Le nozze di Figaro Overture (Orchestra)
MOZART Deh Vieni Non Tardar

***Interval***

ROSSINI Una Voce Poco Fa
TUZUN Capriccio a la Turque (Orchestra)
HEGGIE Great Scott (Si…Son Io)
VERDI Triumphal March from Aida (Orchestra)
ROSSINI Tanti Affetti


MEZZO-SOPRANO: JOYCE DIDONATO

Conductor, Sascha Goetzel
Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra

BOZAR, BRUSSELS

In War and Peace: Harmony through music

Programme to include works by :

Claudio Monteverdi
Henry Purcell
Georg Friedrich Händel
Niccolò Jommelli
Leonardo Leo

MEZZO-SOPRANO: JOYCE DIDONATO
Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
Il Pomo d'Oro

Concertgebouw Amsterdam, AMSTERDAM

In War and Peace: Harmony through music

Programme to include works by :

Claudio Monteverdi
Henry Purcell
Georg Friedrich Händel
Niccolò Jommelli
Leonardo Leo

MEZZO-SOPRANO: JOYCE DIDONATO
Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
Il Pomo d'Oro

Barbican Centre, LONDON

In War and Peace: Harmony through music

Programme to include works by :

Claudio Monteverdi
Henry Purcell
Georg Friedrich Händel
Niccolò Jommelli
Leonardo Leo

MEZZO-SOPRANO: JOYCE DIDONATO
Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
Il Pomo d'Oro

Wiener Konzerthaus, VIENNA

In War and Peace: Harmony through music

Programme to include works by :

Claudio Monteverdi
Henry Purcell
Georg Friedrich Händel
Niccolò Jommelli
Leonardo Leo

MEZZO-SOPRANO: JOYCE DIDONATO
Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
Il Pomo d'Oro

Helsinki Music Centre, HELSINKI

In War and Peace: Harmony through music

Programme to include works by :

Claudio Monteverdi
Henry Purcell
Georg Friedrich Händel
Niccolò Jommelli
Leonardo Leo

MEZZO-SOPRANO: JOYCE DIDONATO
Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
Il Pomo d'Oro

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Press

MASSENET

Werther

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

…how beautifully and sensitively she sang, her Yankee freshness of personality irradiating every note: the Letter scene of the third act became all the more powerful for being so restrained and her cradling of Werther’s dying corpse was heart-rendingly tender. 
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 20 June 2016
Joyce DiDonato perceptively conveys the torment of Charlotte’s struggle to reconcile her duty to Albert and her stirring love for Werther,…the expression is thrilling…. outstanding singing.
Edward Bhesania, The Stage, 20 June 2016
Indeed, the tenor's passion for DiDonato's magnificently riven Charlotte persuaded me, for once, that he could conceivably survive imminent death for the whole of act four—even though logic should dictate otherwise—in order to buy a few precious moments with her. That's something only proper stars can do.
Mark Valencia, What’s On Stage, 20 June 2016
Cradled in sable strings and serenaded by an alto saxophone, her Va! Laisse couler mes larmes has the intimacy of a chanson. [DiDonato’s] emotional nakedness and scrupulous attention to the text make this belated confession devastating. It’s a pivotal moment in the opera and the performance: a bridge between her style and his that allows proper connection in the final scene.
Anna Picard, The Times, 20 June 2016
In mezzo Joyce DiDonato and tenor Vittorio Grigolo this second revival of Benoit Jacquot’s elegant production certainly gets the right voices.
…DiDonato’s delicately-inflected Gallic sound makes the perfect foil.
Michael Church, The Independent, 20 June 2016
...and Joyce DiDonato’s Charlotte: the gentle radiance of the latter’s supple mezzo rises to...liberated passion in Act 3, when the reluctantly married heroine’s stoical attempt to keep her true feelings under wraps gives way under the violent impact of Werther’s unexpected reappearance.
George Hall, The Guardian, 21 June 2016
Neither Joyce DiDonato (Charlotte) nor Vittorio Grigolo (Werther) had sung their roles before, but they proved perfect for the parts.
DiDonato has one of the finest mezzo-soprano voices around today, together with the acting ability and intelligence to cut through the slush and bring real emotional substance to the part.
William Harston, The Express, 21 June 2016
In terms of singing performances Grigòlo and DiDonato are both phenomenal as they chart the difficult course of the relationship between Werther and Charlotte...The characterisation is all there in the singing voices and they are both utterly compelling and impressive. 
The Opera Journal/ Keris Nine

Bellini

I Capuleti e I Montecchi

Gran Teatre del Liceu

She has sung the part of Romeo in the most important opera houses for many years and has an exceptional voice,...The best part of her performance, and of the whole opera, was the singing lesson she gave at the tomb scene, where she proved that she is both a great singer and a compelling artist. Seen and Heard/ Jose M. Irurzun
 La mezzo-soprano nord-américaine, lauréate du Grammy Award de la Meilleure Soliste Vocale Classique en 2016 et 2012, excelle dans le rôle de Roméo...Elle nous enchante par son magnifique legato et sa puissance vocale. Parfaitement à l’aise sur le plan musical et scénique, elle s’investit pleinement dans l’interprétation du personnage proposée par le metteur en scène.  Opera Online/ Xavier Pujol
 El Liceu ha tenido la gran suerte y también el gran mérito de sustituir a la mezzo soprano letona por Joyce DiDonato,...Aquí es donde Joyce DiDonato demostró ser una gran cantante y una gran artista. Beckmesser/ José M. Irurzun
Esa potencia y energía de perfil masculino que es su firma personal engrandece el personaje en el aspecto teatral y seduce en el vocal.  Bachtrack/ Juan José Freijo

Joyce DiDonato Recital

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Obviously, singing is crucial in a recital, but the artist’s ability to connect with the audience is almost as important, and the American diva showed a skill available to few artists. Seen and Heard/ Jose M. Irurzun

Joyce DiDonato Recital

Vienna State Opera

Man kommt, um eine perfekt beherrschte Mezzostimme zu hören. Die Presse/ Von Wilhelm Sinkovicz

ROSSINI

La Donna del Lago

Metropolitan Opera Company

As Elena, the incandescent mezzo Joyce DiDonato commands the necessary vocal backbone to focus the drama on herself: steely in confrontational exchanges, she can sound meltingly tender when daydreaming about Malcolm and produce a more juicy, complex tone when the arrival of the hunter complicates her emotional landscape.
Ms. DiDonato’s mastery of the gymnastic elements of bel canto singing is absolute, and the seeming ease with which she binds them into the musical and emotional context of each phrase and scene is breathtaking.


CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIMDEC, The New York Times, 13 December 2015
Returning to the role of Elena, the Highland maiden of the title, Joyce DiDonato is an absolute marvel… to hear her now is to hear a great voice in its prime: an easy, honeyed tone, ample volume, accurate pitch, a quick coloratura. Everything simply works for her, and on the foundation of that security she builds a sublime musical interpretation. 
DiDonato’s most memorable moment is “Tanti affetti” right before the final curtain–she builds stunning arches in the aria, the lines achingly crafted with breathtaking beauty. The following cabaletta, a bubbling effusion of joy, sparkles like a diamond. DiDonato’s portrayal at this point is a complete vocal and dramatic achievement, and truly must be experienced in person to be appreciated.

Eric C. Simpson, The Classical Review, 13 December 2015

JAKE HEGGIE

Great Scott

Dallas Opera

The opera’s title character, Arden Scott, is a celebrated American mezzo-soprano, played to perfection by American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Gate, 31 October 2015
DiDonato, displaying her renowned virtuosity in coloratura excerpts, is deeply engaging as a performer full of self-doubt.
Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 31 October 2015
NPR Music Interview  NPR Music, 31 October 2015

"Joyce and Tony" - CD

Live at Wigmore Hall

…DiDonato capturing the huge emotional swings of Haydn’s “Arianna a Naxos” in an incandescent performance that threatens to overshadow the rest of the programme. 
But a jaunty dash through Rossini’s “La Danza” helps shift gears for the second half, in which both she and Pappano offer light-spirited takes on Kern, Berlin and Arlen, before a yearning “Over the Rainbow” finds her, heels clicked, back in her native Kansas.
4**** Andy Gill, The Independent, 21 August 2015
DiDonato’s immaculate voice relishes every vowel sound, Pappano responds with pianistic wit and idiomatic invention. Ad libs and applause are judiciously included. All a delight.
5***** Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 16 August 2015

Brentano Quartet / Jake Heggie

Milton Court Concert Hall

It’s immaculately tailored to DiDonato’s voice, with its remarkable flexibility and expressive range. Coloratura flourishes suggest Camille’s volatility. Long lines, full of immaculate pianissimos, convey her retreat into a private world of memory… and Hahn’s ravishing Venezia, which DiDonato has made her own, with Heggie himself her weighty, persuasive accompanist.  Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 15 April 2015

Berlioz : La Damnation de Faust

Berliner Philharmoniker / Sir Simon Rattle

Und Joyce DiDonato, die Mezzosopranistin aus dem robusten amerikanischen Mittelwesten, schwingt sich als Marguerite sofort in silberdurchwirkte Höhen auf, in denen sie dann engelsgleich verweilt. Udo Badelt, Der Tagesspiegel, 14 April 2015
Auf einem eigenen Qualitäts-Planeten und doch ganz wach für Orchester und Partner ist Joyce DiDonato eine Ausnahmesängerin. Jede Stimmfärbung ist bei ihr Ausdruck der Seele und eines Zustandes. Ein Glanzpunkt und emotionaler Anker dieser Aufführung!

Clemens Goldberg, Kulturradio, 11 April 2015
Ihre eher hell konturierte Mezzo-Stimme, derzeit eine der gefragtesten auf den Bühnen der Welt, erfüllt alle Ansprüche famos, die der Rolle wie die des Publikums. Makellos die Tonbildung, eindrucksvoll die sängerische Gabe, der psychischen Verfassung der jungen Frau zwischen Verführung und Verirrung, Innerlichkeit und Entsagung Manifestationen zu geben.

Ralf Siepmann, Opernetz, 11 April 2015

ROSSINI

La Donna del Lago

Metropolitan Opera Company

Joyce DiDonato can do almost anything. She can sing high and low, loud and soft, and somehow make it all seem natural. She can manage florid runs and agitated climaxes as if they were expressive devices, not just vocal pyrotechnics. She can look sweetly demure, fondling flowers, or awesomely heroic, confronting royalty. She can make a simple gown look elegant, and a small gesture look big. Most important, she can reinforce such achievements with a mezzo-soprano — maybe a soprano sfogato — equally notable for richness and purity.
Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, 17 February 2015
Ms. DiDonato, playing the heroine Elena in the Met’s premiere production of this rich, tuneful Rossini melodrama, sang the opening of the aria with melting warmth and tenderness…Ms. DiDonato sang Rossini’s beguiling phrases with soft yet penetrating richness, subtly folding ornaments and runs into the long melodic arcs…The aria eventually breaks into joyous bursts of dazzling coloratura passagework, with rousing exclamations from the chorus, and Ms. DiDonato delivered.
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 17 February 2015
DiDonato, looking very bonny as the red-haired Ellen Douglas, takes control of the evening from her opening aria, a tender and delicate "O mattutini albori," and by the time of her breathtaking "Tanti affetti" in the grand finale she has scored a major triumph…Vocally she is at the top of her game. Technically a mezzo, her range is such that she can easily take soprano roles and soar. She is also a first-rate actress, convincing both as the maiden in love we first meet and as the reluctant bride-to-be. Her smile alone would melt any king's heart.
Wilborn Hampton, Huffington Post, 17 February 2015
Joyce DiDonato emerges triumphant. It doesn’t take much courage to tell the listening public that DiDonato is among the world’s greatest singing actors of any voice type; on Monday she was beyond perfect. Given the opportunity to introduce a major role to the Met’s audience, she gave a performance that may ultimately stand as a high point in her already lofty career. What we heard was one of the world’s best voices in top form—her tone was pure honey, her coloratura effortlessly fluttering, her ornamentation fearless.
Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review, 17 February 2015
The heroine, Elena, is sung by Joyce DiDonato, whose voice here has extraordinary range and displays the most subtle attention to colour and detail… The scenes between him [Juan Diego Florez] and DiDonato are pure show-stoppers…
Colm Tóibín, The Spectator, 17 February 2015

HANDEL

Alcina

International Tour with The English Concert/Harry Bicket

Alcina, Barbican, review: 'Joyce DiDonato is perfect'
...it was Joyce DiDonato who held us in thrall. As the ruthless, desperate enchantress whose charms and powers are tragically fading, she radiated dazzling glamour and authority - abetted by a magnificent coiffure and some sumptuous Vivienne Westwood couture, as well as a regal deportment and command of gesture that was always histrionically appropriate...What more can one say about her singing that hasn’t been said a thousand times now? The word “perfect” might cover the matter, did it not suggest something frigid and contrived rather than something always born in the moment of its utterance. But surely her clarity of projection, control of dynamics, precision of articulation and range of colour are all beyond reasonable criticism: she is absolute mistress of her art, with an instrument totally obedient to her will. So if this isn’t vocal perfection, I don’t know what is.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 11 October 2014
And DiDonato gave the title role seductive malice, together with a voice of radiant beauty, and a dazzling technical display, from a heart-stopping messa di voce at the repeat in “Ah! Mio cor!” to the fireworks in “Ma quando tornerai”. Catch this if you can. Laura Battle, The Financial Times, 13 October 2014
A luminous DiDonato leads superb cast in Handel’s “Alcina” at Carnegie
The rich sound and incredible power of her voice are apparent, and underneath is a level of intensity of thought and feeling that is rare for any performing artist, in any field. Even at low volume, and in introverted passages, this intensity gives every note she sings tremendous musical and expressive volume. She can also go from flickering candle to flamethrower in the breadth of a note, always focussed and under control. George Grella, New York Classical Review, 27 October 2014
To convey the mystique of a sorceress, Ms. DiDonato wore an exotic gray dress with puffy shoulders and a punkish hairstyle. But she did not need a costume to practice sorcery on her audience. This she did with her brilliant, plush and charismatic singing. Though Alcina is a soprano role, Ms. DiDonato tossed off chilling, full top notes and floated finespun pianissimo phrases. She commanded the stage during the great Act II finale, when Alcina summons her powers, and nothing happens, an uncanny exploration by Handel of mental and psychic confusion. Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 27 October 2014

Wigmore Hall

Recital with Antonio Pappano

They were queuing round the block for the second of her Wigmore dates, and rightly so – there’s no female singer around today who can match her immediate warmth of personality, depth of musicality, beauty of tone and superlative technique. Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, September 2014
Expert in her textual definition in both languages, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was persuasively communicative in music ranging from Haydn to Jerome Kern. George Hall, Guardian, September 2014
Daring vocal pirouettes, vivid acting, wide dynamic swings, amazing breath control: all had been masterfully blended... Geoff Brown, The Times, September 2014
Her golden mezzo, fiery or resolute or shimmering with barely controlled emotion, sounds impressively at its peak now.
…DiDonato showed how beauty of tone and a love for the music could turn each number into an intimate art song in its own right. By the time she reached her heavenly first encore, Kern’s “All the Things You Are”, it was as if she had turned the Wigmore into her own private soirée.
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, September 2014
Her can-do attitude and glorious voice make her one of the most in-demand singers today…DiDonato’s dazzling vocal technique. Clare Colvin, Sunday Express, September 2014
…the world’s deservedly favourite mezzo… Book fast. Expect fireworks. Fiona Maddocks, Observer, September 2014

Stella di Napoli

Erato Classics

La mezzo semble ici au sommet de son potentiel vocal. Côté diction, prosodie et expressivité, on ne pouvait rêver mieux. 
[trans.]… here, this mezzo seems at the peak of her vocal potential. Clear diction, prosody and expressivity, you could not ask for more.
Thierry Hillériteau, Le Figaro, October 2014
…this luscious collection of Italian bel canto opera arias presents the incandescent DiDonato on top form, the creamy tones whipped into kaleidoscopic threads of melody.
DiDonato’s gorgeously fluid voice is this album’s special joy.
*****Geoff Brown, The Times, August 2014
As expected, DiDonato has virtuosity to spare, but what makes this disc special is the shimmering radiance of emotion she brings to operas such as Bellini’s Adelson e Salvini and Pacini’s Saffo.
In Mary Stuart’s radiantly sung solo before her execution DiDonato leaves no doubt that her own star is at its height.
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, August 2014
[The arias] allow this adored US mezzo to display her dizzying technical virtuosity, her acting skills and her extravagant sense of drama.
...You may think bel canto recital discs are not your thing. Let Joyce DiDonato convince you otherwise. She did me.
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, August 2014
She’s got it all. Fantastic voice, striking looks, a rigorous work ethic, a respect for her audience, and a desire to smother them with love… Vocally, she’s the best mezzo soprano currently active.” 
5***** ‘Album of the week’
David Mellor, Mail on Sunday, September 2014
Joyce DiDonato – bright, intelligent, curious – is at the peak of her career. Manuel Brug, Die Welt, August 2014
What we hear here is stunning: beautiful timbre, smooth projection, fullness in medium and deep registers, ease in treble, trills of the highest calibre… nothing is missing. Richard Martet, Opéra Magazine, September 2014
World-class magnificence and gems from the Kansas-born mezzo-soprano who displayed true vocal fireworks... Clotilde Maréchal, Qubuz, September 2014
She skilfully mastered the game with the audience, who hung on her every word... Joyce DiDonato lures with virtuosic coloratura and the sensuality of her perfectly appealing mezzo-depth. Frederik Hanssen, Der Tagesspiegel, September 2014

Teatro Colon

Recital with David Zobel

(We can be sure that)…DiDonato, one of the great singers of our time – handling both opera and chamber singing with the same degree of excellence – is a complete artist, a master of musical expression.
…her singing is glorious, its expressive power and range of style are amazing, as are the thousands of nuances of her voice in their ability to narrate stories, situations, dramas, tales of sadness and personal meditations.
…she copes with the most fiendish coloratura and the most intricate passages with absolute ease…
Pablo Kohan, La Nacion, August 2014

DONIZETTI

Maria Stuarda

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

What the Royal Opera’s production and McVicar’s at the Met have in common is of course Joyce DiDonato in the title role…There’s a spontaneity to her ornamentation here that is less embellishment than organic emotional outpouring, connecting absolutely with body and mind. Her tone is endlessly flexible, colouring Donizetti’s four-square phrases with unexpected shades and stretching the predictable arc of his melodies into shapes that are at once unfamiliar and completely inevitable. It’s a performance that would batter its way into life on recording, and in the flesh is deeply and seriously moving.
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk, July 2014
Joyce DiDonato’s performance as Donizetti’s Mary Queen of Scots leaves one bereft of adequate superlatives. So let me just start by claiming that bel canto of this quality has not been heard at Covent Garden for more than a generation and that on the strength of this night alone, her name should rank in the operatic pantheon alongside the greatest legends of the past.
Flawless technical virtuosity – based in firm legato, lucid projection, clean diction, breath control, fast trills and precisely articulated runs – makes every note tell. But this is the mere machinery, the hard work.
DiDonato has the rarer gift of imaginative musicality too, and it’s the glowing beauty of tone, warm shaping of phrase, delicate colouring of words and intense commitment to character which cast the magic and make the drama meaningful.
Proud yet vulnerable, impulsive, arrogant, deeply unsure of herself and her own worst enemy, DiDonato’s Mary is not just heart-rendingly beautiful but also vividly real – aching with nostalgia in her opening aria, fiercely defiant when confronted with Elizabeth, bitterly remorseful in the duet with Talbot, and poised in the face of death with a mixture of courage, terror and spiritual calm that I found almost unbearably moving.
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, July 2014
There is, however, one compelling reason to see the show. Even by her own feisty standards, Joyce DiDonato is mesmerising in the title role. She is the full regal package. The voice is at its peak: powerful enough to sing everyone else off the stage, yet with a beguiling silvery thread, the flexibility to throw off those curls of coloratura with insouciant ease, and the musicality to turn them into profound expressions of the doomed queen’s turbulent emotions.
And what a stage animal she is! I thought nothing could better her ferocious denunciation of Elizabeth – “harlot…bastard”, delivered with incandescent force – while she smashes the sherry glasses to smithereens. Her prayer at the scaffold, however, is even better, because without sacrificing the haughty passion with which she infuses this Queen of Scots, she also musters heartbreaking poignancy.
Richard Morrison, The Times, July 2014
Maria Stuarda is essentially a vehicle for two cracking divas, however, and in Carmen Giannattasio and Joyce DiDonato this production has exactly that. DiDonato in the title role exudes moral fire, terror and nobility of spirit, negotiating the coloratura with aplomb. She has an impressive trill and moulds a golden legato line.
Barry Millington, Evening Standard, July 2014
DiDonato’s Mary is magnificent; she is fiery, proud, dignified, and sumptuously sung. Her confession duet with British bass Matthew Rose’s staunch Talbot is intensely moving.
Graham Rogers, The Stage, July 2014
Joyce DiDonato is taking the role of Mary Stuart around many of the world’s top opera houses and her wonderfully sung portrayal is worth travelling a long way to catch. The dramatic music is sung with fire and impetuosity; the coloratura sparkles with virtuoso clarity; and, as Mary contemplates execution, she sings with a voice touched with a very personal emotional tremulousness, and so iridescent with subtle colours, that no other singer today could surely come close to her. DiDonato simply gets better and better. Richard Fairman, Financial Times, July 2014
As Maria, DiDonato, however, rises regally above all this, singing with supreme technical command and style, and bringing heartbreaking nobility and pathos to the drawn-out final scene — her prayer was exquisite, not least in the way that she blended with the excellent chorus. Hugo Shirley, Spectator, July 2014
Then the scene shifts to Fotheringay where Mary is imprisoned and Joyce DiDonato lifts the standard still higher. DiDonato has, over the past few years, established herself as one of the world's most gifted sopranos, but even for her this was a sensational performance. Her voice is a joy to listen to and her vocal control is astounding. When the two sopranos were on stage together, the effect was electrifying. William Hartston, Daily Express, July 2014
DiDonato's strength lies not only in her technical wizardry but in her imaginative handling of the text. With absolute control, especially when singing softly, she can order a trill or an ornament to behave however she likes. She hits top notes with the driving power of Usain Bolt. Her boldness, her delicacy, her audacity in every part of her vocal range mesmerise. Yet above all, her humanity and musicianship win out. Fiona Maddocks, Observer, July 2014
I have never heard DiDonato in such glorious form, as she soars to the heights in a succession of flawless trills and coloratura. Her sympathetic portrayal keeps you on the edge of your seat when the beleaguered Mary, too proud to plead with the dominant Queen for her freedom, hurls insults that have her followers blenching in horror. Clare Colvin, Daily Express, July 2014
The American mezzo’s Mary certainly rises to the standoff with a stinging “Figlio impura di Bolena”, and her bel canto musings and flourishes are sublime…DiDonato spins out ravishing bel canto lines as she prepares for the block. Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, July 2014

Salzburg Whitsun Festival

Recital with David Zobel

Freilich gibt es auch nicht so viele Stimmen von ähnlich kostbarem Timbre und technischer Bravour wie den Mezzosopran von Joyce DiDonato... DiDonato mit stupender..Geläufigkeit.
[trans.] Of course there are not many voices of similar precious timbre and technical bravura as the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato…DiDonato was resplendent, with stupendous fluency.
Walter Weidringer, Die Presse, June 2014

DONIZETTI

Maria Stuarda

Deutsche Oper Berlin

… Joyce DiDonato als Maria in einer anderen Liga singt. Sie trägt ihre Seele auf ihren Stimmbändern – natürlich hervorragend durchdacht und studiert. Dank ihrer unglaublichen Gesangstechnik entstehen die Töne bei ihr wie unter einem Mikroskop, mit der feinsten Feile nachbearbeitet. Aber wenn sie richtig loslegt, sollte man in Deckung gehen, wie sie vor Verachtung geradezu ausspuckt, ist die Krönung ihrer von absoluter Perfektion getragenen Darstellung.
[trans.] Joyce DiDonato as Maria sings in a different league. She wears her soul on her vocal chords – of course both perfectly thought out and studied. Thanks to her incredible vocal technique, the sound originates from her like under a microscope, processed with the finest file. But if she really gets going, you should take cover as the music pours forth with outright contempt, the coronation of its representation of absolute perfection.
Andreas Göbel, kulturradio, June 2014
Ik heb niet veel operagrootheden live en in hun topjaren op het toneel gezien. Maar nu heb ik er beslist één meegemaakt. Ik zal het me niet aanmatigen om haar glorieuze stem te beschrijven, maar ik kan me voorstellen dat Malibran zo geklonken heeft. En werkelijk iedere frase, iedere noot, ieder pianissimo en ieder fortissimo was perfect om de tekst gevormd. Ik dacht: ze moet dit wel duizend keer geoefend hebben om deze partij zó overweldigend raak neer te kunnen zetten.
Ik was uiteraard niet de enige die zo dacht. Het publiek barstte na haar eerste aria in een apocalyptisch applaus uit en bleef vanaf dat moment doorkoken, met enkel een klein bedaren in die laatste excessieve minuten. Wat een optreden. Wat een stem. Wat een vrouw!”

[trans.] It is a rare opportunity to see an opera great in their best years on stage. But now I have really experienced one. I will not presume to describe her glorious voice, but I can imagine that Malibran herself would have been riveted. Every phrase, every note, every pianissimo and fortissimo was perfected in accordance with the text. I thought she must have practiced a thousand times to be able to provide such an overwhelming performance.” I was obviously not the only one who thought so. The crowd erupted after her first aria in an apocalyptic applause and continued from that moment in anticipation, with just a little calm in those last minutes. What a performance. What a voice. What a woman!
Kurt Gänzl, Place de l’Opera, June 2014
Die 45-Jährige durchbebt jene Partie, in der einst die Sopran-Primadonnen Joan Sutherland und Edita Gruberova glänzten. DiDonatos pfeilschneller, wendiger Ton packt und fasziniert. Nach gut 20 Jahren Gesangskarriere scheint ihre Stimme einen neuen Höhepunkt erreicht zu haben. Sie verleiht der Maria Stuart feurige Schärfe und luftige Leichtigkeit, spritzt vor Wut und Leidenschaft, wälzt sich in Liebesqualen und Todesfurcht.

[trans.] [Joyce DiDonato] is at the top of her game – a game where once glittered the soprano prima donnas Joan Sutherland and Edita Gruberova. DiDonato’s fast-paced, agile sound grips and fascinates. After over 20 years of her singing career, her voice seems to have reached a new climax. DiDonato gives Maria Stuart a fiery sharpness and airy lightness, whilst injecting rage and passion and wallowing in the torments of love and the fear of death.
Felix Stephan, Berliner Morgenpost, June 2014
Nach ihrer ersten Arie bricht ein Jubelsturm los, wie man ihn selbst im höchst begeisterungswilligen Berlin selten erlebt… sie hebt mit ihrer flamboyanten Ausdruckskraft, mit der berückenden Üppigkeit ihres Mezzosoprans das Publikum schier aus den Sitzen.
Weil die Amerikanerin so menschlich, so wahrhaftig wirkt in ihrer emotionalen Vielschichtigkeit: Aus tiefster Seele scheint jeder Ton aufzusteigen, die samtweichen Melodien der Freiheitssehnsucht, die magisch an- und abschwellenden Klagelaute, die Ausbrüche des Hasses. Selbst die im Angesicht des Todes an Elisabetta gerichteten Worte der Vergebung behalten bei Joyce DiDonato einen zweideutigen Unterton... Was für eine Bühnenpräsenz, gepaart mit allerhöchster stimmtechnischer Meisterschaft!

[trans.] After her first aria, a storm of cheers breaks loose, a rare sound even amongst the most enthusiastic Berlin audiences… she almost lifts the audience from their seats with her flamboyant expressiveness and the beguiling opulence of her mezzo-soprano voice.
Because this American soprano is so human, consequently so real is her emotional complexity. Every sound seems to rise from the depths of her soul; the soft velvet melodies longing for freedom, the wails, magically rising and falling, the outbursts of hatred… Even the words of forgiveness directed to Elisabetta in the face of death retain an ambiguous undertone with Joyce DiDonato…What a stage presence, coupled with the highest technical mastery!
Frederik Hanssen, Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten, June 2014
Joyce DiDonato, as Maria, gave an Oscar-worthy performance of the queen, resisting all attempts to strip her of her dignity. She was at once sad, frightened, dignified, proud and, at the end, peaceful. Her singing was otherworldly, passionate in the extreme. From her first recit to her final farewell, DiDonato sang with an exquisite humanity, and acted the part of the put-upon queen in gorgeous creamy tones. Clad in a stunning black gown, as befitting Mary’s status as prisoner, DiDonato could have been wearing sackcloth and ashes and yet would have been nothing but a queen. From the moment that she called Elizabeth a “vile bastard”, she knew there would be no escape for her but the escape of death, and she met it with grace and dignity.
Christie Franke, Bachtrack, June 2014

Rossini

La Cenerentola

Metropolitan Opera

…[DiDonato’s] own distinct, immensely appealing stage persona still shone through, and so did her musical gifts. She drew on a vast palette of colors to shade the basic clarinet-like timbre of her voice, in singing that was notable for its legato: even the most intricate passagework emerged within essentially lyric lines.
Fred Cohn, Opera News, July 2014
…she [DiDonato] sang the Rossini with her expected brilliance, rising to real command by the end.
John Rockwell, Opera, July 2014
DiDonato is a natural Rossini soprano, attractive and with a lovely lilting voice that is full of longing, especially in the aria ‘Una volta c'era un re’, and that is also capable of soaring to great heights, as in the finale ‘Nacqui all'affanno’. She has an amazing vocal agility that makes all the trills natural and graceful, and she and Camarena create exciting chemistry onstage together.
Wilborn Hampton, Huffington Post, April 2014
Joyce DiDonato exuded purity and sweetness in the title role… She sang with casual brilliance and bravado, especially as the ornate line ascended.
Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, April 2014
Joyce DiDonato was a sensitive and musically impeccable protagonist, a gifted singer with a shrewd mastery in agility, as demonstrated in the difficult final rondo.
"Protagonista sensibile e musicalmente impeccabile, è stata Joyce DiDonato, una cantante dotata di una smaliziata maestria nei profili dell'agilità, come nell'impervio rondò finale."
America Oggi, April 2014
Joyce DiDonato beautifully dispatched the ever-increasingly florid lines with seeming ease, and the audience roared when the final curtain fell.
Richard Carter, Examiner, May 2014
And if the subtitle of the opera means “Goodness Triumphant”, DiDonato served as its embodiment. Her singing was perfection and warmth in every note. As if there was nothing more natural than quietly singing all those notes at a frantic pace.
Věra Drápelová, Idnes, May 2014

DONIZETTI

Maria Stuarda

Metropolitan Opera (DVD)

DiDonato suffers with grace, sheds real tears and invests the bel canto songs of loss, especially in her touching final scene, with gorgeous pliancy and tenderness.
David J Baker, Opera News, August 2014
As Mary, Joyce DiDonato is an absolute knock-out. She makes a tender impression with her cavatina, the regretful cantabile followed by perfectly placed coloratura in the cabaletta. She holds herself back in the ‘false canon’ that opens the confrontation before, goaded beyond endurance, she lets rip. In prison, shaking uncontrollably, she has a moving confessional scene with Talbot; at the scaffold, her preghiera (prayer) builds up to mighty climax before she forgives Elizabeth and bids farewell to Leicester. In all this, DiDonato is spellbinding through a perfect combination of singing and acting.
Richard Lawrence, Gramophone, July 2014
A tantalising foretaste of what will surely prove one of the summer’s operatic highlights – the appearance of the peerless Joyce DiDonato at the Royal Opera House in the title role of Donizetti’s tremendous melodrama Maria Stuarda. In this production, recorded at the Metropolitan Opera last year she is simply magnificent.
One might have guessed that she could sing this demandingly florid and intensely lyrical music with crystalline Italian diction, impeccable technical security and dazzling stylistic finesse, but the fierce ardent passion she brings might surprise those who have only heard her in lighter histrionic fare. Even those with indelible memories of Janet Baker in this part will be blown away.
Rupert Christiansian, Daily Telegraph, July 2014
Joyce DiDonato offers a physically plain, emotionally determined martyr-monarch, her singing closely and impressively aligned with the character’s emotional journey.
George Hall, BBC Music Magazine, June 2014
…Joyce DiDonato’s central performance is so riveting that it alone makes this disc worth purchasing…the most vocally adept and dramatically detailed performance. Her coloratura is always meaningful (as well as pinpoint accurate) and her sense of line immaculate. Mary’s descent to the proud but palsied queen of the final scene is immeasurably moving.
Francis Muzzu, Opera Now, June 2014

Rejoyce! The Best of Joyce DiDonato

Erato Classics

Compare the long, slow, elegant lines of ‘Scherza infida’ in her performance and the dashing bravura of ‘Crude furie’…In ‘Parto, parto’ from La Clemenza di Tito] her withdrawn tone for the second ‘guarda’ suggests a vulnerability in Sesto, sensitive in the first part and accurately vigorous in the second. Also new is ‘Amour, viens render’ from Gluck’s Orphee et Euridice, dispatched with spellbinding sparkle, trills and all…Don’t miss this.
International Record Review, March 2014

MOZART

La clemenza di Tito

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Joyce DiDonato is Sesto. A consummate actress, she has a voice for the ages. Sir David McVicar, whose production this is, says no one digs deeper than DiDonato. Yet only the effortlessness of a disciplined artist is apparent. She gave us lesson in the use of breath to form tone, dynamics and phrasing.
In the beginning was the breath, and you do not even notice it when DiDonato sings the lovely Mozart music. The most famous air from the opera is her first act “Parto, parto ma tu ben mio.” Accompanied beautifully by the Lyric Orchestra’s first clarinet, Charlene Zimmerman, the music of exquisite grace is indelibly imprinted.
Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts, March 2014
Stealing every scene she is in, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the trouser role of Sesto is compelling both vocally and dramatically. Her rendition of “Parto, parto” with exquisite accompaniment from Lyric principal clarinettist Charlene Zimmerman, stops the show and is itself worth seeing this production to experience.
New City Stage, March 2014
Anything but a wimp in DiDonato's vivid portrayal, the greatly admired American mezzo makes the trouser role an even match with Tito and Vitellia in vocal quality and emotional dimension. Sesto's dilemma is to be torn between his lifelong friendship and loyalty to Tito and his willingness to carry out the murderous plotting of his lover, Vitellia. In her two big arias (including the well-known "Parto, parto"), DiDonato gives her considerable all. It's time Lyric awarded this artist another big starring role.
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, March 2014
It’s a testament to Joyce DiDonato’s artistry that she can make such a weak, vacillating character as Sesto so riveting and compelling. The American mezzo commanded the stage Wednesday night whenever she appeared, bringing a charismatic presence and dramatic honesty to the indecisive Sesto. DiDonato’s rich, flexible voice was balm for the ears, and the mezzo threw off some dazzling coloratura at lightning tempos. One can go a long time without hearing “Parto, parto” sung with such poised feeling and commitment, and Sesto’s contrite aria in Act 2 was likewise suffused with deep sadness and glowing tone.
Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review, March 2014
It is DiDonato’s magic that she not only thrills in a famous aria such as “Parto, parto,” with rolls and trills and other embellishments that she makes part of an organic whole, but also is a superb duet partner who brings out the best in her colleagues and adds dramatic heat to these connections as well as rock-solid musical foundation.”
Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times, March 2014

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Recordings

Joyce & Tony

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano
Antonio Pappano, piano

Live at the Wigmore Hall

*Best Classical Solo Vocal Album - Grammy Award 2016*
Warner Classics

Donizetti: Maria Stuarda

Joyce DiDonato
Elza Van den Heever
Matthew Polenzani
Joshua Hopkins
Matthew Rose

Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera / Maurizio Benini 
ERATO

ReJOYCE

This 2CD collection marks mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato’s first 10 years with Erato/Warner Classics

Arias by Händel, Mozart, Bellini and Rossini
ERATO