Here’s the official YouTube clip of the recording sessions and interview:
DiDonato’s site announces the release:
Hot on the heels of winning Gramophone magazine’s 2010 Artist of the Year award, the vibrant mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will release her third Virgin/EMI solo album – Diva, Divo – on January 25. This playfully-conceived recital sees the American singer take full advantage of the vocal and gender range of the mezzo repertoire, voicing not only the eager young men of her many “trouser” roles but also passionate heroines. With the dramatic flair and vocal acuity of an operatic natural, she sings an array of roles including Massenet’s Chérubin and Ariane, Mozart’s Susanna, Berlioz’s Marguerite, Bellini’s Romeo, and Strauss’s Composer. Along with DiDonato’s dizzying characterizations, the album explores the same stories in operatic treatments by different composers, so we hear the Figaro story as conceived by both Mozart and Massenet, Faust by Berlioz and Gounod, and Cinderella by Massenet and Rossini.
I have always boasted about how wonderful it is to be a mezzo-soprano. Aside from the obvious Toscas or Salomes I would love to have sung, I have never regretted my slightly longer vocal cords, for this genetic blessing has allowed me to portray a wealth of characters from young boys to princesses, from ardent young men to demented, murderous wives. A richer tapestry of human emotions would be hard to find, and that translates into sheer fun for me! It is this exploration of our world, both external and internal, that continually sets me on fire.
“This recording pays homage to the inspired composers and librettists who, through their boundless imaginations and curious minds, forged entirely different musical languages, emotions, and theatrical flavors from the same legend or story. It pays tribute to the wonderful world of the mezzo-soprano, who has always been called upon to bend the genders, to convince equally in both pants and skirts – sometimes even within the same evening – while hopefully retaining an individual and unique sound. And this disc gives me the chance to do what I love most: to bring vastly different characters to life and to explore each of their inner journeys.”
DiDonato recorded Diva, Divo in September 2010 with the Orchestra and Chorus of Opéra National de Lyon, conducted by Kazushi Ono.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.