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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has gained a strong following with novel, even fearless programs, flawlessly executed. The stimulus for In War & Peace was extramusical: DiDonato temporarily shelved a different project in the wake of the terrorist attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. The concept is ambitious: the booklet includes quotes about finding peace from figures as varied as Patrick Stewart, Riccardo Muti, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and an inmate at New York's Sing Sing prison. Does it directly connect with DiDonato's program of Baroque arias? Listeners will have to decide for themselves, but the good news is that the program stands on its own. War and peace are among the most common themes in Baroque opera, but DiDonato has woven them together intelligently here. For one thing, the two interpenetrate, with elevated tragic arias in the War half of the program, and complex dramatic conceptions in the Peace half. Sample Handel's remarkable "Augelletti, che cantante," from Rinaldo, with its sopranino recorder part and discursive development. Added bonuses are some world-premiere arias from the still largely unexplored corpus of opera seria from the middle 18th century, represented by compositions of Leonardo Leo and Niccolò Jommelli. Equally good are the big hits, including a magnificent, deliberate "When I am laid in earth," from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, which shows the breadth of DiDonato's conceptualizations of war and peace. The accompaniment from the historical-instrument group Il Pomo d'Oro under Maxim Emelyanychev is ideal. Recommended, whatever your views on the feasibility of world peace.
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Classical - Released August 29, 2014 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks
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Classical - Released January 12, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 étoiles de Classica
In Great Scott, the Kansas-born mezzo-soprano, one of today’s best-loved classical singers, creates a role conceived specifically with her in mind. The character she plays, Arden Scott, just happens to be an opera star, and she is the lynchpin of what Fred Plotkin of WQXR, the USA’s leading classical music radio station, welcomed as a “deeply moving and musically brilliant work” that “should enter the standard repertory just as Heggie’s two previous masterpieces – Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick – already have”. Jake Heggie, who has been described as US opera’s most successful composer, chose the celebrated playwright Terence McNally as his librettist for Great Scott. The two previously collaborated on the gripping Dead Man Walking, which has become something of a modern classic since its premiere in 2000. Joyce DiDonato first performed its central role, Sister Helen Prejean, at New York City Opera in 2002 and will do so again in concert stagings in London and Madrid in January/February 2018, coinciding with the album release of Great Scott. © Warner Classics
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Classical - Released August 28, 2015 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Grammy Awards
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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diamant d'Opéra Magazine
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Classical - Released October 21, 2013 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Erato - Warner Classics

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Opera - Released November 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Opera - Released August 26, 2013 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released November 2, 2009 | Warner Classics

Many opera fans are perfectly happy to enjoy Rossini's operas without ever visiting the facts of his personal life beyond that which can be read in a program booklet. As the old saying goes, however, behind every great man there is a woman, and in Rossini's case it was Spanish diva Isabella Colbran, whom he worshiped from afar before the two became an item around 1817 -- he was 25, she 32 -- and subsequently married in 1822. Not long after they married her voice went into sharp decline; this is documented in a number of unflattering reviews from both Italy and London. Nevertheless, this did not occur before Rossini had the chance to write his most challenging and involved roles for her, and this part of his legacy is what is explored on Virgin Classics' Colbran, the Muse. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is not your ordinary diva; mere months before Virgin Classics' Colbran, the Muse was released, DiDonato made the headlines when she broke her leg during a performance of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, yet finished the performance on crutches. This helped cement DiDonato's reputation as a trouper, but it is the diva -- not the trouper -- that we hear on Colbran, the Muse. While recording companies do not routinely concern themselves with exploring the legacies of singers no one can reasonably hear, to her credit DiDonato takes this project quite seriously and does her best to channel Colbran through music Rossini wrote for her. There is some controversy as to whether Colbran was a soprano or a mezzo; however, there certainly isn't anything in her music that DiDonato can't handle; moreover, she does so not only with accuracy and respect for the model but also with no small amount of sheer star power and charisma. Rossini tends to be less harder on the orchestra than on singers, and this can lead to a certain underpowered "house style" with Rossini, especially in Italy. Not so here, as Edoardo Müller and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia approach every bar of their music with attentive dedication and a scrupulous sense of ensemble dynamics. Likewise, the chorus doesn't sound like it's in the next province, yet never covers the star of the show and is well drilled by Müller. Virgin Classics' Colbran, the Muse is a terrific star turn for DiDonato and an especially fine tribute to an artist whose voice gave way more than 50 years before Thomas Edison developed the technological means to capture it. This quirky idea succeeds so well that opera fans might regard it as a privilege.
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Classical - Released October 14, 2016 | Erato - Warner Classics

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Full Operas - Released September 1, 2005 | Naxos

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Classical - Released April 13, 2012 | Parlophone Records Limited

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Classical - Released January 21, 2011 | Warner Classics

The frequency with which mezzo sopranos are called on to play male roles lies behind the ingenious premise for Diva Divo. Joyce DiDonato has selected pairs of operas that basically have the same plot or source, and sings an aria from a role written for a male character from one, and for a female character from the other. Sometimes both of the operas are well known, as in the case of Faust and La Damnation de Faust. Generally, though, this involves pairing a familiar opera with one less familiar (La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart and Gluck, two of the nearly 40 settings of Metastasio's libretto), with the prolific Massenet providing three of the dark horses: Chérubin for Le nozze di Figaro, Cendrillon for La cenerentola, and Ariadne for Ariadne auf Naxos. Because of the composers' differing styles and sensibilities, it would not be immediately evident to someone unfamiliar with the music to detect which of the paired arias was for a man and which was for a woman. Mozart's Vitellia, in fact, sounds considerably more forcefully masculine than Gluck's Sesto. DiDonato's performances are absolutely first-rate throughout, proving her equally up roles assigned to either gender. Her voice is notable for its clarity, evenness, and agility, and it's beautifully showcased in a virtuoso aria like Rosina's "Contro un cor" from Il barbiere di Siviglia. She is just as effective in the long-breathed lyricism of Susanna's "Deh, vieni, non tardar" from Le nozze di Figaro, "Premiers transports" from Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, and Siébel's "Faites-lui mes aveux" from Faust. Each of the selections demonstrates DiDonato's acute musicality and her gift for probing characterizations. Kazushi Ono leads the Orchestra and Chorus of l'Opéra National de Lyon in respectful accompaniment. Virgin's sound is clear and clean, but favors the orchestra at the expense of the voice on several tracks.
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Classical - Released September 7, 2018 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released August 28, 2015 | Erato - Warner Classics

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Classical - Released August 29, 2014 | Erato - Warner Classics

Booklet
American mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato has released several albums of lesser-known operatic repertory without a hint of the musty museum in sight. Her personality seems especially well-suited to this collection of arias from Naples in the early 19th century, a category that includes the young Rossini. DiDonato offers the superb Riedi al soglio from Zelmira (track 4), one of the underrated Rossini showpieces, and there is a pair of arias each from Donizetti and Bellini. The rest of the program is devoted to composers lesser-known (Pacini, Mercadante) or totally obscure (Michele Carafa, Carlo Valentini). The last named of these is represented by an aria from an opera about a sleepwalker called Il sonnambulo, and DiDonato's method involves substituting a new take for a familiar one on a particular theme. This is effective, and she makes the case for much of this material. Most important of all, she sounds great, and she's having fun. DiDonato has been a rising star among the opera cognoscenti for some years now, but it is likely that this release, with the combined marketing muscle of Erato and Warner Classics behind it, will help her become a major star.
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Classical - Released November 1, 2016 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Archiv Produktion

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