Joyce DiDonato: In War and Peace CD review – a heartfelt message

The Guardian

In the midst of chaos, how do I find peace, asks Joyce DiDonato. The American mezzo-soprano has applied her usual curiosity and seriousness to the question in her latest themed CD, In War and Peace, drawn from baroque opera and oratorio with an emphasis on Handel and Purcell. The prompt for the album – which meant jettisoning another – was the attacks in Paris last year. The “war” tracks open with Handel’s Scenes of Horror, and mix familiar (Dido’s Lament, Lascia ch’io pianga) with an arresting world premiere recording from Leonardo Leo’s Adromaca (1742). In “peace”, Monteverdi and Jommelli feature too. DiDonato brings technical security and a variety of tonal colours to each aria. Il Pomo d’Oro offer bristling accompaniment under principal conductor Maxim Emelyanychev … it’s hard to resist DiDonato’s heartfelt message.