Joyce DiDonato On Why Art Matters In The Midst Of Chaos

NPR / All Things Considered

Joyce DiDonato is one of the most acclaimed opera singers of her generation; this year, she won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Solo. Her latest album, In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music, is a collection of baroque arias from the 17th and 18th centuries divided into two sections — one addressing war, the other, peace.

DiDonato joined NPR’s Ari Shapiro to discuss this newest recording, a project she hopes will be a force for healing. “Music, because it goes to the heart and bypasses the brain, can put people in a position to hear another point of view, to be less afraid of it,” she says. Hear their full conversation at the audio link and read an edited transcript below.

Ari Shapiro: Tell us the story of how you decided on the theme for this album.

Joyce DiDonato: I was sitting at my piano going through a stack of arias, trying to find repertoire for this, and the Paris attacks had just happened. And I thought, I have to address what’s happening today, because these composers from years and centuries ago have already been talking about war and peace. I [wanted] to really formulate something that helps me reconcile my world today and perhaps, with a little bit of luck, actually goes out to the listener and helps them.

Read the entire feature via NPR / All Things Considered