Top 100 Songs of 2016: 49. "Lascia ch'io pianga" (Handel) / In War and Peace


Can music change the world? Opera star Joyce DiDonato would like to think so. She divides her latest album between arias of war and peace, searching for serenity within chaos — and encouraging her listeners to discuss via the hashtag #TalkPeace. In “Lascia ch’io pianga,” we find the mezzo-soprano plying Handel’s unfailing formula — dropping a melody of uncommon beauty into a scene of tear-filled desperation. DiDonato’s ardent performance is enough to, at least momentarily, make you believe the world is safe and sound. –Tom Huizenga