Archive for the ‘Joyce DiDonato’ Category

Outstanding new releases from Kraftwerk, Sting, Cecilia Bartoli, Joyce DiDonato, John Coltrane and Miles Davis

October 8, 2009

Forget the Beatles remasters. Forget Dylan’s Xmas album (due in the UK on Monday).

There are some exciting new releases by Music for Grown-Ups favourites about to hit the streets, notably:

* Kraftwerk’s back catalogue – remastered, released singly and in a collectable box set, The Catalogue. Prima!

* Sting’s tempting foray into traditional and classical song – If On A Winter’s Night.

* Top mezzo-soprano outings – Cecilia Bartoli with Sacrificium; and Joyce DiDonato with Rossini.

* John Coltrane’s early work on Prestige as a sideman with a variety of bands (except Miles’s), collected as Side Steps

* All of Miles Davis’s Columbia albums – 70 discs! – in a single box.

A bumper autumn in store…

Gerry Smith

Joyce DiDonato: three world-ranking mezzos #2

December 17, 2008
Of the three world-ranking mezzo-sopranos performing in London this week, the Kansan Joyce DiDonato is the least established.

She’s a fast-rising star, though – I’ve previously enjoyed her 2006 performances in Barber Of Seville, the lovely Rossini opera, at Covent Garden, in a semi-staged Handel opera at the Barbican, and a Wigmore Hall recital.

Saturday’s Barbican gig, backed by chamber orchestra Les Talens Lyriques, was part of a European tour promoting the singer’s new disc, Furore: Handel’s Scenes Of Madness.

The lovely setlist and striking performances cemented DiDonato’s growing reputation. She has a rich, creamy tone, an expressive, intelligent reading of the texts and enviable voice control – her dynamics and legato are always a thrill. She delivered a very enjoyable gig: must buy the album.

But the empty seats in the hall told you that DiDonato isn’t quite yet first division – Bartoli, Gheorghiu, Fleming, for example, are substantially more popular – but I wouldn’t bet against her morphing into a top drawer diva in the next few years.

Another odd Barbican audience! As for Roberto Alagna earlier this year, a mix of the cognoscenti you also encounter at Covent Garden or Vienna’s Musikverein, alongside an overabundance of Classic-Lite seniors who get way too excited (usually over the wrong things).

Gerry Smith



Barber of Seville – another Rossini triumph for Covent Garden

Contrary to some tepid reviews, the new Royal Opera House production of The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s mature comedy, is a delight. While the Financial Times critic thought the staging “tedious, gaudy, boxy, contrived”, I found the production to be thoroughly engaging. And very funny.

Joyce DiDonato’s Rosina was well-nigh perfect. Her rich voice and expressive acting come from the top drawer: DiDonato’s a talent to follow carefully. Ditto George Petean, in the title role.

And, just as they triumphed with last season’s Rossini at Covent Garden, Il Turco, directors Leiser and Caurier presented a colourfully witty feast for the eyes.

Kirschlager, Didonato and Bartoli: three world-ranking mezzos play London

December 11, 2008
In the space of the next five days, I’m due to see Angelika Kirschlager, Joyce Didonato and Cecilia Bartoli, three world-ranking mezzo-sopranos, singing at three different London gigs:

· Kirschlager in Hansel und Gretel at Covent Garden tomorrow,

· Didonato singing Handel repertoire at the Barbican on Saturday,

· and Bartoli in a Rossini recital, also at the Barbican, next Wednesday.

Music for Grown-Ups Heaven!

Having seen all three before, several times each, my expectations are astronomically high: three of the greatest female voices on the planet – on show in one city at virtually the same time. It’ll be instructive, if invidious, to compare and contrast. Watch Music For Grown-Ups for reviews.

Gerry Smith