Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Joyce DiDonato Makes House Role Debut as Composer in Metropolitan Opera’s Staging of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos

“The perfect 21st-century diva – an effortless combination of glamour, charisma, intelligence, grace, and talent.” – New York Times

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato – coming off rave reviews for her role debut as Isolier in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Rossini’s rarely-seen Le comte Ory – takes to the Met stage again on May 7-13 to make her house role debut as the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. At a recent Met Q&A, the ever-effervescent singer talked about the Composer – a “trouser role” like Isolier, but from a completely different musical world: “I’ve sung the Composer before and it speaks very strongly to me – he is ardent and naïve and purposeful,” she explained. “Strauss sketched him so perfectly that I only need to sing what’s on the page and he will hopefully spring to life!” About the role’s being “a perfect part” for her, she added: “I think it’s that combination of innocence and dedication to music. ‘Sein wir wieder gut’ [Let’s Be Friends Again] is an anthem to the world of music, and I think anyone who has had the honor to sing those words has a special affinity for this young man.”

DiDonato’s new Virgin/EMI album – Diva, Divo, a collection of favorite and rare arias for characters in both pants and skirts – climaxes with the mezzo’s scintillating take on “Sein wir wieder gut.” BBC Music magazine judged the album full of “singing that restores your faith in human nature,” while Gramophone magazine, which crowned DiDonato its 2010 Artist of the Year, praised the disc’s concept as well as its singing: “Applause for the imagination – I guess the compiler is the diva herself – can be doubled for her performances of Bellini and Rossini.” In the U.S., Mike Silverman’s Associated Press review concluded: “One of today’s most accomplished singers, American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has it all.” The singer recently signed a long-term renewal of her EMI contract, prompting Virgin Classics president Alain Lanceron to call her relationship with the label “a wonderful adventure.”

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