Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano – at the piano rather than the podium – opened the 2014-15 season at London’s Wigmore Hall with a dazzling program of song devoted to the duo's American and Italian connections. The first item was Haydn’s dramatic cantata Arianna a Naxos (which, back in 2003, also launched DiDonato’s debut recital at Wigmore Hall). Then come two songs by a composer who has played a defining role in Joyce DiDonato’s operatic career – Rossini, and four luscious late-Romantic numbers written in 1908 by the little-known Neapolitan composer Francesco Santoliquido. In the second half of the program, the pair shift gears effortlessly for a sparkling set from the Great American Songbook and beyond. Recorded live on this 2-CD set,Read more the two artists were hailed by The Times as “mezzo diva supreme” and “golden maestro and piano accompanist to the stars”.
DiDonato demonstrates the full range of her expressive and technical gifts in a wide-ranging program...Pappano, better known for his work on the podium, is an exemplary collaborative pianist here, supporting Ms. DiDonato’s voluptuous singing with characterful, virtuosic playing.
– New York TImes
Last year’s recital by the dream duo of Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano works wonderfully as a double CD - arguably more effective than the concert itself. Haydn’s dramatic scena, Arianna a Naxos, comes into its own, the seriousness, virtuosity and beauty of the performance easier to enjoy in private contemplation...DiDonato’s immaculate voice relishes every vowel sound, Pappano responds with pianistic wit and idiomatic invention. All a delight.
This double-album explores both American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato’s European artistic homeland and her native land, through separate discs of cantatas and Great American Songbook classics, sensitively accompanied by Antonio Pappano’s thoughtful piano arrangements...DiDonato capturing the huge emotional swings of Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos in an incandescent performance.