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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravissima, 21 Nov 2012
This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
Joyce diDonato presents an interesting collection of opera arias from the early baroque through to the classical period.
She sings every aria with total conviction, getting inside each character through the text and music. I have never heard the recitative to Handel's Piangero performed with such meaning to the text and so beautifully shaped. It is interesting to compare her rendition of Brilla nel alma from Handel's Alessandro with Julia Lezhneva's performance on the recently released complete opera on Decca. Lezhneva is simply breathtaking with her seamless scales while DiDonato shapes her performance, giving real meaning to the text - I love both performances. The two Kaiser arias are quite beautiful and offer a more reflective mood to the quicker arias. DiDonato's recital finishes with a truly venom spitting performance from Haydn's Armida. A lot of thought and preparation has clearly gone in to this recital and you really sense that DiDonato is offering a total commitment to her performances. Alan Curtis too gives us beautifully shaped orchestral accompaniments. I will return to this disc often and I predict a few awards for it in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bewitching, 23 May 2013
This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
I was never a lover of Baroque music this introduction has got me hooked.
Worth the money for Cleopatras "Piangero" alone.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not all great music, but there are great moments, 13 Dec 2012
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C. Wake (West Country) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
This is a disc of music you've never heard of, mostly by composers you've never heard of. You'd probably never have thought of listening to any of it, if it were not being sung by Joyce DiDonato, but you will find it quite interesting, if you like (say) Handel, Vivaldi, or Gluck. Most of these composers are roughly contemporary with Handel, and some - Hasse and Porta, particularly - were very famous at the time. It's not all great music, but there are great moments, like Keiser's dark "Geloso sospetto" with a consort of bassoons around the voice, or Orlandini's hair-raising "Col versar, barbaro, il sangue". The play-list goes right back into the 17th century for a couple of numbers, and forward to Haydn for one aria; these sound rather out of place in the early 18th century context.
DiDonato has clearly worked hard on this programme, most of which must have been unfamiliar to her, and just as we expect of her, she sings with great intelligence and commitment. The slower, more expressive works come off best. The faster arias reveal a voice that has got too big and powerful to negotiate tight baroque corners with any ease. There has been a big change even since she recorded her Handel "Furore" disc with Rousset in 2008 (the present disc was made in July 2012). This was inevitable; DiDonato spends her time these days singing Rossini at the Met, and she has no choice but to develop the voice in directions that make it less appropriate for the 18th century. So it is that the best music on this disc - "Brilla nell' alma" from Handel's "Alessandro" - comes off worst in performance.
But more worrying that the change of scale is the degree of wear we can hear in the voice. DiDonato is doing too much work in very large spaces, and though she is absolutely in her prime, the voice is beginning to suffer. It's the fate of so many singers in the present age. Still, for the moment, there is much to enjoy, though I, for one, will expect her to give more pleasure in future in Rossini (or even Richard Strauss!) than in Handel and his contemporaries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion & expression, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
Joyce is great here and so we'll into character. Pieces are expertly chosen and notes are well worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musically and technically outstanding!, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
She conveys the different characters of the queens perfectly and full of the dramatic aspects, still not losing the female part of the inner feeling of the Queens. Wonderful!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful singing, 3 Aug 2013
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LFF12 (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
Many of the items on this recording are by little known composers, but you'd never know from the performance, as Di Donato treats them with equal respect. The orchestra is deft and flexible, and the mezzo tears through each with genuine intensity and musicality. I'm kicking myself now that I managed to miss her recital of this material in February in Paris as I'm sure live it was something very special.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Diva DiDonato, 17 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
Sexy serendipity. One of my life's greatest discoveries. When you think of coloratura you instantly think of Queen Cecilia Bartoli, that extraordinary technician of vocality combined with research for the more obscure but nonetheless entertaining masterpieces of hiostorical music drama.

Here in one album is the young pretender to that high office that Bartoli created for herself. Now DiDonato combines that technical skill with a musicalty that matches the finest compositions of the genre. Pieces that have lain hidden for centuries have come to life again in this extraordinary production. All future sopranos will be judged against this performance
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 7 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
Who wouldn't love any new recording with wonderful Joyce DiDonato! What a fantastic singer she is!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great singing!, 23 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
Dramatic, great !! This record should teach all to listen to Baroque Music, fabulously executed.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite!, 27 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Drama Queens (Audio CD)
A very interesting CD of baroque arias (17-18th centuries, from Monteverdi to Haydn): dramatic areas, to be more exact, which explains the title of the CD. Joyce DiDonato is very expressive, the arias are really beautiful. Higly recommended!
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Drama Queens
Drama Queens by George Frideric Handel (Audio CD - 2012)
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