The Ever-Irrepressible Joyce DiDonato Continues Her 2010-11 Season as Strauss’s Octavian in Madrid
It's already been a red-letter autumn for the American mezzo-soprano, with DiDonato winning two prestigious 2010 Gramophone Awards – "Artist of the Year" and "Recital of the Year", as well as Germany’s 2010 Echo Klassic “Singer of the Year” Award. She continues her illustrious 2010-11 season with a December full of performances in another of her key roles, that of Octavian in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, at Madrid's Teatro Real. On her debut as Octavian in 2007 at San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Chronicle extolled her vocal art and dramatic verity: "The evening’s signal triumph belonged to Joyce DiDonato, undertaking Octavian for the first time and turning the role into something tender and strong. Her singing was robust and full of feeling, and she brought the technical precision and alertness of her finest Rossini and Handel performances to this very different stylistic strain. . . The result was a performance that seemed to breathe, displaying all the headstrong charm and mutability of this 17-year-old aristocrat still finding his way through the worlds of love and honor in 18th-century Vienna."
DiDonato began the season by making her house debut at Berlin's august Deutsche Oper with an October run in her signature role of Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Typifying the love affair the press has with DiDonato, the New York Post praised to the skies her Metropolitan Opera performances of Rosina last season: "Best in show was Joyce DiDonato as the rebellious ingenue Rosina. Not only did she nail every musical curlicue, she added intriguing variations of her own, modulating her sleek mezzo-soprano with subtle shifts of color and tempo. Just three months after fracturing her leg doing this opera in London, she scampered around the stage with the madcap verve of a young Bette Midler."