Seen and Heard International
Joyce DiDonato’s In War and Peace Brings Harmony and Love to the Barbican Hall ...Seen and Heard International
Joyce DiDonato is an exclusive recording artist with Erato/Warner Classics and her latest release is a deeply personal one for her and is called In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music. It will not be the first time I have written how everyone knows that it is not just enough these days to simply rehash the ‘routine’ and so every new album – if it is to ‘sell’ – must have a new slant, a fresh concept. And so, we arrive at this concert, part of a 20-city international tour that poses the question: in the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?
A great deal of thought seems to have gone into presentation; it was not a typical sing, take the applause, walk off and come back on recital. There was video (by Yousef Iskandar), lighting effects (by Henning Blum), costume changes, as well as, a male dancer. All in all, it was the understated(?) evening with the wonderful Joyce DiDonato we are becoming used to. I entered the Barbican Hall several minutes before the advertised starting time of the concert and DiDonato was already sitting to the rear of the platform, with the bare-chested dancer, Manuel Palazzo, lying prone at the front. She remained still until Palazzo stirred to play notes on the harpsichord and the period-instrument baroque ensemble, Il Pomo d’Oro, came on and DiDonato launched into Handel’s ‘Scenes of horror, scenes of woe’ from Jeptha …
As before when I have heard her sing, DiDonato’s virtuosity is not in doubt and her mezzo voice can imbue any of the myriad flowery lines with considerable drama. She has wonderful breath control, an impeccable vocal technique and excellent diction, which made the surtitles for the arias in English virtually superfluous.
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