Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hometown Diva: Joyce Di Donato "Furore!"

Our home town diva, Prairie Village, KS native Joyce Di Donato, returned to KC for a sold out recital on Wednesday. She was nothing less than magnificent in the recital "Furore", a program (and a Virgin Classics CD) of Handel arias and mad scenes. Accompanying her was the superb French Chamber Orchestra Les Talens Lyrique, Christophe Rousset conductor.

Di Donato virtually ruled the evening. Of course a home town audience with many "I knew her when" stories bandied about would greet her enthusiastically even if she read the proverbial grocery list. But in this case, the Handel selections were done with grace, excitement, elegance and sheer vocal perfection. "Where should I fly", an incredible mad aria from "Hercules", demonstrated her intensity and ability to communicate with her audience. She literally sounded and looked mad, both she and the audience stunned and breathless at the conclusion. Every aria, from "Ariodante", "Hercules", "Teseo", "Serse" and "Imeneo", was a marvel of vocal color and technique. Clear as bell trills, thrilling runs, leaps and sometimes almost breathless tempi, all tossed off with ease.

Les Talens Lyrique also offered some wonderful orchestral excerpts to lend a bit of contrast to the program. Historically accurate, but never dry and pedantic, true grand music making in the baroque style.

Di Donato's gown was a masterpiece as well. Michelle Obama needs to talk to her designer.

New Yorkers: The same program is at Carnegie Hall on Friday.

1 comment:

Yankeediva said...

Hey, Don! Thank you for the wonderful write up! I just stumbled across it, but I might hit you up for some PR lessons before too long!!!

Thank you for the wonderful reception - it was indeed special to bring this program to my home!