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Joyce DiDonato - Songs and Arias [special autographed version]

Joyce Didonato
Release Date: 03/25/2008 
Label:  Wigmore Hall Live   Catalog #: 9A  
Composer:  Gabriel FauréReynaldo HahnGeorge Frideric HandelMichael Head,   ... 
Performer:  Joyce DiDonatoJulius Drake
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a special autographed version of this album, personally signed by Joyce DiDonato. Available for a limited time. 3052780.zz1_JOURNEY_THROUGH_VENICE_Joyce.html

A JOURNEY THROUGH VENICE Joyce DiDonato (mez); Julius Drake (pn) WIGMORE HALL LIVE 9 (66: 40 & ) Live: London 1/16/2006


ROSSINI La regata veneziana: Read more class="ARIAL12i">Anzoleta avanti la regatta. Anzoleta co’ passa la regatta. Anzoleta dopo la regatta. HEAD Songs of Venice: The Gondolier. St Mark’s Square. Rainstorm. FAURÉ Cinq mélodies de Venise : Mandoline. En sourdine. Green. À Clymène. C’est l’extase. HAHN Venezia: Sopra l’acque indormenzada. La barcheta. L’avertimento. La biondina in gondoleta. Che pecà. La primavera (arr. J. Drake). HANDEL Giulio Cesare: Cara speme. ROSSINI La Cenerentola: Non più mesta


“Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it, or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little . . . “ (Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities). In an age when we are quite literally losing Venice, its magic as a subject never seems to fade, and this recital gives us the chance to hear a more than usually inventive Venice-based program by one of today’s leading mezzo-sopranos. It is another in the Wigmore Hall’s “Live” series, originally given as a BBC Lunchtime Concert in January 2006.


DiDonato has made something of a specialty of the role of Rosina in Barber , so she was on familiar ground in Rossini’s La regata veneziana, a set of miniatures composed in the last decade of his life and referred to by the composer as Péchés de vieillesse (“Sins of Old Age”). It’s not difficult to hear why these songs are infrequently performed, since not only are they rather slight but they also demand the ability to create character with the voice, a skill that DiDonato certainly possesses.


Michael Head’s Songs of Venice were first performed by their dedicatee Janet Baker in 1977, and they provide an apt contrast to the Rossini in their gravity and reflective atmosphere, qualities which the singer here brings out finely, most notably in “The herald of our silent coming on.” Fauré’s Cinq mélodies de Venise ­ are of course much better known; whilst DiDonato sings them mellifluously, I did not feel that she has that truly ideal combination of bite in the enunciation and elegance in the phrasing which is essential in French music. The same is true of her performance of Hahn’s Venezia. This work was written in Venice and first performed in a gondola, complete with piano, gondolier, and assorted acquaintances of the composer, all, according to Hahn, “well lit.” They are songs of great charm and elegance, and they are well sung here but a certain je ne sais quoi is lacking, although I know exactly what it is when I hear it—perhaps it is best defined as a combination of wit and languor in the tone.


Hahn’s first performance of Venezia was followed by many cries of “Ancora, ancora,” as was this one, and we are duly rewarded with some vibrant singing of Rossini’s “Non più mesta” (from La cenerentola ) and an especially fine rendition of one of the greatest of all Handel’s arias, “Cara speme” (from Giulio Cesare ). A lively, intriguingly planned recital disc that no admirer of Joyce DiDonato should be without.


FANFARE: Melanie Eskenazi
"Everybody's talking about mezzo Joyce DiDonato these days. This star product of Houston Opera Studio has been conquering opera houses around the world. If you wonder what all the fuss is about, listen to this live recital from London earlier this year. The voice has a gorgeous silvery sheen in its higher registers, seamlessly changing to molten gold as it descends. The sumptuous Hahn ditties are beguiling, and the Rossini numbers give Ms. DiDonato a chance to show off her coloratura specialty. Arias by Handel and Rossini provide the encores, and dazzling is the word. BOTTOM LINE: A real star, this one." -- The Dallas Morning News, September 2006

"The highlights of the American mezzo's Venetian trip are Fauré's 'Mandoline' and Hahn's 'La Barcheta', but all the songs explain why DiDonato has risen so quickly to international stardom. The purity and lightness of her tone are enchanting." -- The Sunday Telegraph, June 2006

"Recorded live in January this recital is the first indication that the Wigmore's in-house label…has something important to say. DiDonato radiates not just the serene and sinister side of Venice, but its romantic melancholy, as depicted in six songs by Reynaldo Hahn. La Regata veneziana showcases the American mezzo's florid brilliance, Fauré's Cinq Mélodies her seductive sense of line." -- Financial Times, June 2006

"There's plenty of erotic languor in DiDonato's singing, above all in Head's cycle, with its furtive musings about “our silent coming on”, while the Hahn is delivered with such passion that the audience interrupts at one point with spontaneous applause." -- The Guardian, June 2006

"Such force, such lustre! Joyce DiDonato’s mezzo-soprano is very impressive… there's quite enough quiet silky legato and subtle phrasing to delight lovers of the intimate. ...this American mezzo-soprano is also a dab hand at the song recital: the Wigmore concert captured on CD is a bewitching musical homage to Venice, spanning the centuries in repertoire but united by DiDonato’s delicious way with words – as well as her immaculate technique." -- The Times, May 2006
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mélodies (5), Op. 58 "de Venise" by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; France 
Date of Recording: 01/16/2006 
Venue:  Live Wigmore Hall, London, England 
Length: 13 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: French 
2.
Venezia by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; France 
Date of Recording: 01/16/2006 
Venue:  Live Wigmore Hall, London, England 
Length: 16 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Arranger: Julius Drake.  
3.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Cara speme, questo core by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 01/16/2006 
Venue:  Live Wigmore Hall, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4.
Songs (3) of Venice by Michael Head
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 01/16/2006 
Venue:  Live Wigmore Hall, London, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 1 "Album italiano": no 8-10, La regata veneziana (3 canzonette) by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1868; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/16/2006 
Venue:  Live Wigmore Hall, London, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6.
La Cenerentola: Nacqui all' affano...Non più mesta by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Joyce DiDonato (Mezzo Soprano), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/16/2006 
Venue:  Live Wigmore Hall, London, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: italian 

Featured Sound Samples

Mélodies, op 58 "de Venise" (Fauré): No 2: En sourdine
Giulio Cesare (Handel): "Cara speme, questo core"

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