In War and Peace Tour

Robert Rowat

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato’s latest project, In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music, comprises a new album of Baroque arias coming out Nov. 4 and an international concert tour with Il Pomo d’Oro and conductor Maxim Emelyanychev. The sole Canadian date on their tour will be Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 30, announced today (Sept. 21) by the Vancouver Recital Society.

“As a citizen of the world in 2016, at times I am overwhelmed by the temptation to spiral down into the turmoil and pessimism that seemingly invades all corners of our lives,” DiDonato writes on the project’s impressive website, explaining the highly personal motivation behind the project. “And yet, I’m a belligerent, proud, willing optimist. I resist.”

Her resistance comes in the form of a selection of arias that affirm her faith in our propensity for peace: “With the help of Handel and Purcell, among other masters, I respectfully invite you look at the interwoven worlds of external conflict and serenity, internal war and peace, and to contemplate where you wish to reside within yourself. As I have tried to convey in this selection of music, the power to bravely tip the scales towards peace lies firmly within every single one of us.”

Among the arias chosen for her album and tour are favourites (Purcell’s “When I am Laid in Earth” and Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga”) and some rarities (excerpts from Leonardo Leo’s Andromacaand Purcell’s Bonduca.)

The project’s website invites the public to participate by answering the question, “In the midst of chaos, how to you find peace?” It already includes 180 stories and counting, submitted by DiDonato fans.