In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music at Carnegie Hall ...Opera News
Joyce DiDonato has been a regular visitor to Carnegie Hall for some seasons now. On December 15, the industrious and remarkably thoughtful mezzo-soprano brought something completely original to the august hall’s stage. In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music marked a curated theatrical presentation blending vocal and instrumental music with dance, design, fashion, video imagery and what might be termed either politics or philosophy. The evening’s title was the same as DiDonato’s recent Erato CD with Maxim Emelyanychev and the dynamic early music band Il Pomo d’Oro; the Carnegie Hall performance marked the last scheduled U.S. stop of an international series of concerts “touring behind the album,” as one says of pop singers. But the musical choices were neither all from the CD nor presented in the order or manner it utilizes. For one thing, DiDonato—who barely ever left the playing area, and in fact had been posed upstage, seemingly motionless, watching her audience enter—left center stage to Il Pomo d’Oro between every few clutch of arias, so we heard apposite instrumental selections from de’ Cavalieri, Purcell, Gesualdo as well as the twentieth century’s Arvo Pärt. Handsome, talented dancer/choreographer Manuel Palazzo provided lucid movement for himself, DiDonato and even some of the Baroque players.
Image: Chris Lee Photography