Wednesday, 1 June 2016

CD Reviews (The Straits Times, June 2016)

JOYCE DIDONATO, Mezzo-soprano
Warner Classics 0825646107896 (2CDs) 

Some live concerts are destined for posterity. This album drawn from two vocal recitals by American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and conductor-pianist Sir Antonio Pappano, which opened Wigmore Hall's 2014-15 season in London, has the makings of a classic.

Its contents cleverly reflect the combined cultural heritage of both singer and pianist. The first disc is devoted to Italian songs, opening with Haydn's cantata Arianna A Naxos, which at 20 minutes resembles an extended concert aria. It is a passionate lament on forsaken love. The melting lyricism of bel canto comes in Rossini's Belta Crudele, contrasted with the vertiginous tarantella of La Danza. Songs by Santoliquido and de Curtis also display her astonishing vocal range.   

The second disc includes 14 numbers from the “Great American Songbook”, from Stephen Foster's Beautiful Dreamer to Harold Arlen's Over The Rainbow, by way of Jerome Kern, William Bolcom, Richard Rodgers and Irving Berlin. Performed with an outsized personality and pizzazz, this is simply irresistible listening.

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