Press Room

Joyce DiDonato makes Carnegie Hall recital debut on March 6

As a fitting climax to her rapturously received eight-city U.S. recital tour, Joyce DiDonato makes her main-stage Carnegie Hall recital debut on March 6.  Joined, as on tour, by pianist David Zobel, the mezzo-soprano will give the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s song suite The Breaking Waves alongside songs and arias by Haydn, Chaminade, and her beloved Rossini, plus Italian rarities.  Earlier tour stops included Chicago and Washington DC, where critics were united in recognizing the star quality they witnessed.  In the Washington Post, Anne Midgette describes “not wanting it to end,” unwittingly echoing the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein, who marveled: “You didn’t want it to end.”  This latest spate of critical accolades confirms DiDonato’s status as one of today’s hottest singers; recently named Artist of the Year and winner of Best Recital Disc by Gramophone magazine, she has also just won glowing reviews for her new Virgin/EMI album (Diva, Divo), has just starred in the lead role of Heggie’s Dead Man Walking at Houston Grand Opera, and looks forward to two runs at the Met and starring roles at four leading European opera houses, all before the season’s end.
If DiDonato’s tour performances offer any indication, her Carnegie Hall recital debut is not to be missed.  “Not only is she the leading Rossini singer of her generation, Joyce DiDonato has few if any peers as a song recitalist,” affirms von Rhein, before continuing:
“By the end of the evening, the vivacious American mezzo-soprano had the sold-out house practically eating out of the palm of her hand, in a ‘portrait’ program of Italian and French songs, Rossini opera arias, and other intriguingly offbeat items.  Everything was so engagingly sung that you didn’t want it to end.” (Chicago Tribune)
As on tour, the Carnegie program will feature Haydn’s Scena di Berenice, the aria “Assisa appiè d’un salice” from Rossini’s Otello, and songs by Rossini and French Romantic composer Cécile Chaminade, alongside less familiar fare from the latter’s Italian contemporaries Leoncavallo, Arturo Buzzi-Peccia, and Vincenzo Di Chiara.  Given DiDonato’s status as the composer’s foremost living exponent, her Rossini needs little introduction.  What is more, as Andrew Patner discovered, “each song on the whole program, however obscure, was given its due and had its best case made for it” (Chicago Sun Times).
At Carnegie, DiDonato will also unveil The Breaking Waves by Jake Heggie, a composer to whom she has been close since making her 2002 New York City Opera debut in the role of Sister Helen Prejean in his Dead Man Walking. According to Opera News, “DiDonato’s singing and acting of Sister Helen seem[ed] not merely perfect but a further creation beyond what composer and librettist could have imagined.”  The mezzo also recorded Heggie’s The Deepest Desire: Four Dramatic Songs of Praise as the title work of her 2006 Eloquentia solo album, The Deepest Desire, which Gramophone pronounced “absolutely riveting.”
After the exciting culmination of her U.S. recital tour on March 6, DiDonato returns to the opera stage, being based through May at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where she makes her role debut as Isolier in a new Bartlett Sher production of Rossini’s Le comte Ory (March 24–April 21).  The cast also includes Juan Diego Flórez and Diana Damrau, and the April 9 performance will be broadcast around the world via the Met’s “Live in HD” series.  Following Le comte Ory, DiDonato will stay on at the Met to star in her house role debut as the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos (May 7-13).  Then, for her second tour of the season, the mezzo takes on her next major Handel challenge, crossing Europe in the dramatic title role of Handel’s Ariodante in performances with Il Complesso Barocco and conductor Alan Curtis.  The tour – which celebrates Virgin/EMI’s May release of an Ariodante recording with DiDonato, Curtis, and company – starts on May 20 in Baden-Baden, Germany, with stops in Paris and London.  She closes the season with a July 5-16 run in the title role of Massenet’s Cendrillon, conducted by Bertrand de Billy, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  As Mike Silverman wrote in his recent Associated Press review of Diva, Divo: “One of today’s most accomplished singers, American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has it all.
Joyce DiDonato: Carnegie Hall recital debut
Sunday, March 6
New York, New York
Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall
With David Zobel, piano
Haydn: Berenice, che fai, Hob. XXIVa: 10
Rossini: “L’invito”; “La partenza”; “Le dodo des enfants”; “Chanson de Zora”
Chaminade: “Viens! mon bien-aimé!”; “Villanelle”; “Aubade”; “L’été”
Rossini: “Assisa al piè d’un salice…Deh, calma,” from Otello
Jake Heggie: The Breaking Waves (world premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
Buzzi-Peccia: “Lolita” (serenata spagnola)
Leoncavallo: “Serenata francese”
Di Chiara: “La spagnola”
Other upcoming engagements
March 24 & 29; April 2, 5, 9*, 14, 18, & 21
New York, New York
Metropolitan Opera / Maurizio Benini
Rossini: Le comte Ory (Isolier – role debut)
* “Live in HD” international broadcast
March 26
Wichita, Kansas
Wichita Grand Opera Gala
May 7, 10, & 13
New York, New York
Metropolitan Opera / Maurizio Benini
Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (Composer – house role debut)
May 20
Baden-Baden, Germany
Handel: Ariodante (title role)
Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis
May 23
Paris, France
Théatre des Champs-Elysées
Handel: Ariodante (title role)
Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis
May 25
London, England
Barbican Hall
Handel: Ariodante (title role)
Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis
July 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, & 16
London, England
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden / Bertrand de Billy
Massenet: Cendrillon (title role)
July 18, 21, 24
Baden-Baden, Germany
Mozart: Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira)
Mahler Chamber Orchestra/ Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Return to Press Room