Columns linked to Joyce DiDonato

Top Music Making and Performances in Agrippina at the Royal Op...

Sam Smith

Agrippina of 1709 is the second opera that Handel wrote in Italy, and his first notable operatic success. Set in Ancient Rome, it sees the title character, who is the wife of the Emperor Claudio, take steps to ensure that her son from her first marriage, Nerone, is crowned Emperor when news reaches her that Claudio has been killed at sea. After, however, manipulating the freedmen Pallante and Narciso to hail Nerone as Emperor in front of the Senate, the commander Ottone arrives proclaiming...


Semiramide at the Royal Opera House, London

Sam Smith

Semiramide is arguably the greatest Rossini opera not to be regularly performed today. This does not mean, however, that it has been entirely neglected, and it was recently recorded, and performed at the BBC Proms, by Opera Rara on period instruments. Musicologist Rodolfo Celletti has suggested that ‘Semiramide was the last opera of the great Baroque tradition: the most beautiful, the most imaginative, possibly the most complete; but also, irremediably the last’. This is...


A memorable Met gala looks backwards

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

On May 7th, the Metropolitan Opera threw a special gala to celebrate 50 years at the “new Met” in Lincoln Center. The design of the new Met has been debated and criticized since its construction, but one thing is certain: it has been an artistic home to many of the world’s greatest singers. They were there in full force and full voice on Sunday for this nostalgic celebration. Angela Meade, Michael Fabiano, Günther Groissböck sing “Qual...


I Capuleti e i Montecchi, DiDonato and Ciofi’s great success a...

Xavier Pujol

The dramatic intensity at the heart of Romeo and Juliet’s theme is such that not only can it travel in the Western culture from Shakespeare to Bernstein being reborn in each generation, but it also survives, almost intact, the heavy bel canto rhetoric.  Build upon Felice Romani’s inflamed verses up to a cliché, which at no point come from the Shakespearian referent (we only wish they did), I Capuleti e i Montecchi is still an imperfect Bellini that, although...


I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Opernhaus Zürich

Helmut Pitsch

It is starting soft and intimate, transparent, and the melodic intonation is kept in chamber music alike. There is no oversteering of volume or emotional outflow in the conducting of Fabio Luisi, musical director of the Zurich Opera House. Everything is said about the tragedy and melancholic fate of the plot, the heroic fight for love and the sweet moments of hope and confidence. The scenic interpretation of the overture seems to be a three dimensional overflow on the fast turning...


Juan Diego Flórez and Joyce DiDonato in the Met’s La Donna del...

Thibault Courtois

Strangely, it is the first run ever of La Donna del Lago at the Met, almost two hundred years after it received its premiere. One could argue that this operais rarely put on stage notably because it is an opera for very rare singers with natural Rossini voices able to reach every corner of a 3800 seats concert hall. However, the piece has been capitalizing some interest for the past five years thanks to two superstars who added some of the most difficult arias of this opera to their...