Wherever she sings, Joyce DiDonato earns rhapsodic reviews. Called “the flame-toned American mezzo” by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, she is among the world’s most enchanting performers and the winner of many honors including the Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Award. Opera News magazine states: “The buoyant progress of DiDonato’s career has been one of the happiest opera events of the past decade,” while critics have called her technique “fearless” and praised performances ranging from “playful eroticism to imploding self-delusion to near-catatonic depression.”
Furore, the first of DiDonato’s solo recordings on EMI’s Virgin Classics label, surveys a variety of emotional Handel arias with Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset. DG/Archiv Produktion released Handel’s Alcina with DiDonato in the title role during the same period that she opened Wigmore Hall’s 2008-09 season and gave her role debut as Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. At the end of the season she returned to Covent Garden for Il barbiere di Siviglia, breaking her leg during the first performance. She completed the series of performances in a wheelchair, before making her Salzburg Festival debut several weeks later. “The mezzo-soprano has become very well known in recent years. And quite deservedly, as the Salzburg audience quickly heard,” wrote Salzburger Nachrichten. DiDonato sang her first Béatrice in Berlioz’s rollicking Béatrice et Bénédict with Houston Grand Opera, reprising it in Paris with Sir Colin Davis before performing in Mozart’s Idomeneo at the Paris Opéra. She sang the world premiere of Peter Lieberson’s song cycle, The World in Flower, with the New York Philharmonic and its new music director, Alan Gilbert; gave her first main-stage Carnegie Hall concert, with the MET Orchestra under James Levine; and bowed for the first time at the Vienna State Opera as Rosina in Rossini’s Barbiere.
DiDonato has soared to international prominence in operas by Rossini, Handel, and Mozart, as well as in high-profile world premieres. Her growing discography has earned accolades far and wide. Her Wigmore Hall recital disc was a Gramophone “Editor’s Choice,” while The Deepest Desire, her first solo disc, was awarded France’s “Diapason d’Or de l’année,” an extraordinary honor for a recording of American songs. Her CD of Spanish songs, ¡Pasión!, was a London Sunday Times “Classical CD of the week,” praised for its “authentic-sounding Iberian fire,” and dubbed the disc “that admirers of the young American mezzo have been waiting for.”
Her signature parts are in Rossini’s La cenerentola and Il barbiere di Siviglia – her Rosina in Barbiere at the Metropolitan Opera won new audiences in New York and on cinema screens all over the world during her performance in The Met: Live in HD, and she was called “the best Rosina around” by London’s Sunday Times for the portrayal.
After beginning her career in the U.S., Joyce DiDonato soon developed a growing and enthusiastic worldwide following in opera, concert, and recital. She has appeared on the world’s major opera stages, in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Chicago, Geneva, London, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo, adding Vienna last season; and she has given recitals and concerts at Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and Carnegie Hall, with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre National de Paris, St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. DiDonato has had important triumphs at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and in performances and recordings with Alan Curtis’s ensemble, Il Complesso Barocco, and Les Arts Florissants under William Christie.
Born and educated in Kansas, the dynamic and engaging mezzo-soprano was a member of the young artist programs of the San Francisco, Houston Grand, and Santa Fe Opera companies after graduate studies at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts.
Honors bestowed upon DiDonato – in addition to the Met’s Beverly Sills Award and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Singer of the Year – include the Richard Tucker Award, given to a single American singer annually; second place in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia; and prizes from the George London Foundation, the ARIA Award Foundation, and the Sullivan Musical Foundation. Her newest recital disc, Diva, Divo, has also been nominated for a Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Solo.