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04 June 2021

Joyce DiDonato's Secret Garden

von Anne Payot-Le Nabour

Artist in residence
Joyce DiDonato


Declared the «diva of hearts of modern times» by Le Temps, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato moves with disarming ease and extraordinary stage presence between the baroque and contemporary eras and has long since become one of the central personalities on the current opera scene. She cuts an outstanding figure in bel canto trouser roles and in the guise of Händel’s great heroines alike. Nor is she afraid to venture into the fields of jazz and musical. Her residence at the Philharmonie invites the audience to stroll through sumptuous sonic landscapes. First is her programme «Songplay», which brought her a Grammy Award for best solo album in 2020 and combines jazz, opera and tango. This is followed by Georg Friedrich Händel’s English oratorio Theodora, in which the American singer will be heard in the moving role of Irene, the devoted friend to the eponymous Christian martyr who is sentenced to unimaginable tortures. The grand finale is the programme «Eden», a musical stroll through DiDonato’s personal paradise, where compositions by Purcell, Gluck and Wagner blossom alongside a new work the singer commissioned from Rachel Portman. In these last two concerts, DiDonato rejoins the conductor Maxim Emelyanychev and ensemble il pomo d’oro, with whom she recently recorded Händel’s opera Agrippina, a work she also performed at the Philharmonie in 2019. The ensemble’s name refers to the apple the Trojan prince Paris was charged with presenting to the most beautiful goddess. His choice ultimately led to the Trojan War. Fortunately, the audience is not faced with such momentous decisions between Joyce DiDonato’s three concert offerings, having the possibility to wander all three gardens of delights with equal enjoyment.


Cover photo: Chris Singer