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Diva Divo / Joyce DiDonato


Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 41986  
Composer:  VariousJules MassenetWolfgang Amadeus MozartAntonio Caldara,   ... 
Performer:  Joyce DiDonatoEdgaras MontvidasNabil Suliman
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera OrchestraLyon National Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Simply sensational!

This is simply sensational! The music is excellent and makes a satisfying programme; the singing and playing is top class; and the idea behind the programme is very original. As you can see from the track-listing, Joyce DiDonato has seized on the ability down the years of mezzo-sopranos to “bend the genders”, as she puts it, and to “convince equally in both pants and skirts”. But in selecting the roles for this programme she goes a step further and, in several instances, shows us how one composer has reacted to one character in a story and then gives us a taste of another composer’s take on the complementary character from the same plot. So we encounter, among others, Cinderella and Prince
Read more Charming; Sesto and Vitellia; Cherubino and both Susanna and Rosina.
 
I’m not going to go through each character assumption, save to say that I find Miss DiDonato convincing and plausible in all the roles she essays. Her singing is never less than wonderful, whether she’s called upon to execute the most athletic and elaborate passagework (by Rossini) or to spin the most seductive, sensuous line - by Massenet, for one.
 
But let me comment on a few highlights. Sesto’s aria, his farewell to Vitellia, offers some of the most touching singing on the disc. Joyce DiDonato’s singing here is just fabulous. She displays intense yet dignified emotion and her lovely tone and seamless line afford great pleasure. I was particularly taken with - and moved by - her exquisitely placed soft high notes. And all this takes place against the background of Gluck’s refined, subdued accompaniment.
 
The performance of ‘D’amour l’ardente flamme’ is on a similarly exalted level of accomplishment. The plangent, poignant cor anglais melody makes its mark every time it appears. Miss DiDonato’s assumption of the character of Marguerite is by turns touching and passionate. She’s equally successful in the second Berlioz item, where she brings out what annotator Roger Pines rightly calls the “mesmerizing serenity” of Berlioz’s music. On the evidence of these two items, how I would love to hear her in Les Nuits d’Été: her voice would be ideally suited to most if not all of those songs.
 
Her Rossini is simply adorable. I thought she was hugely impressive in Pappano’s recent, excellent recording of the Stabat Mater. On this present disc the nature of the music is very different but no less demanding. She clearly relishes the varied challenges of Rosina’s aria, while the aria from La Cenerentola is dazzling. In both these pieces one can only admire her vocal agility, her range and her complete command of the music. The technique is formidable.
 
Massenet is a gift to her voice, with its opportunities for “sensuously beautiful legato” in Roger Pines’ words. And the recital opens and ends brilliantly with the giddy, intoxicated Chérubin at the start and Strauss’s impetuous, ardent Composer at the end. 

Look at the cover of this disc and you may get an idea of what’s in store, especially from the photo of Miss DiDonato in feminine costume. She looks full of fun - dare one say, ready to party. That impression is maintained in her infectious introductory note in the booklet and then it’s reinforced in spades on every track on this disc. Here is a diva letting her hair down, having a ball and inviting us to join her. It’s an irresistible invitation.
 
All that remains to say is that the orchestral support from the orchestra of l’Opéra National de Lyon and Kazushi Ono is fully worthy of their illustrious soloist. I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for a fantastic disc. Enjoy!
 
-- John Quinn, MusicWeb International 
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Works on This Recording

1. Chérubin: Je suis gris! Je suis ivre! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; France 
2. Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Giunse alfin il momento...Deh vieni, non tardar by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
3. La clemenza di Tito: Se mai senti spirarti sul volto by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1752; Naples, Italy 
4. La clemenza di Tito, K 621: Ecco il punto...Non più di fiori by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Prague, Czech Republ 
5. Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Voi che sapete che cosa è amor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
6. Il barbiere di Siviglia: Contro un cor by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Edgaras Montvidas (Tenor)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Italy 
7. Faust: Faites lui mes aveux! Portez mes voeux! by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
8. La damnation de Faust, Op. 24: D'amour, l'ardente flamme by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1846; France 
9. Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17: Premier transports by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Chorus,  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; France 
10. I Capuleti e i Montecchi: Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Chorus,  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Italy 
11. Cendrillon: Allez, laissez-moi seul...Coeur sans amour by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; France 
12. La Cenerentola: Nacqui all' affano by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Chorus,  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Italy 
13. Ariane: Ô frêle corps...Chère Cypris by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; France 
14. Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60: Sein wir wieder gut by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Nabil Suliman (Bass)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lyon National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911/1916; Germany 

Featured Sound Samples

La clemenza di Tito (Gluck): "Se mai senti spirarti sul volto"
Chérubin (Massenet): "Je suis gris! Je suis ivre!"
I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini): "Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio"
La Cenerentola (Rossini): "Nacqui all'affanno"

Sound Samples

Chérubin: Je suis gris! Je suis ivre!
Le Nozze di Figaro: Giunse alfin il omento...
Le Nozze di Figaro: Deh, vieni, non tardar
La Clemenza di Tito: Se mai senti spirarti sul volto
La Clemenza di Tito: Ecco il punto, o Vitellia
La Clemenza di Tito: Non più di fiori
Le Nozze di Figaro: Voi che sapete
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, '(The) Barber of Seville': Il barbiere di Siviglia: Contro un cor
Faust: Faites-lui mes aveux
La Damnation de Faust Op. 24: La Damnation de Faust: D'amour l'ardente flamme
Roméo et Juliette: Premiers transports que nul n'oublie
I Capuleti e i Montecchi: Ascolta! Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio.... - La tremenda ultrice spada
Cendrillon: Allez, laissez-moi seul.... Coeur sans amour, printemps sans roses
La Cenerentola: Nacqui all'affanno
Ariane: Ô frêle corps.... Chère Cypris
Ariadne auf Naxos: Seien wir wieder gut!
La Clemenza di Tito : Parto, parto

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