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This review is from: Joyce DiDonato - Diva, Divo (Audio CD)
Is this woman the greatest singer in the world?
On the evidence of this stupendous disc, one could be forgiven for thinking so.
In recent years we have been lucky to have in our midst several marvellous mezzos. I think immediately of the late, universally lamented Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, as well as, for example, the feisty Susan Graham and the cool, aristocratic Bernarda Fink - but surely few sing with the sheer panache, the almost dangerous, devil-may-care quality of Joyce DiDonato.
There is a gutsy ripeness a mezzo can summon up which isn`t so easily available to a soprano. Here is a mezzo whose range is remarkable (hear her low notes!) and whose accuracy of pitch, beauty of tone and luminous legato are always in the service of emotional truth and a bounteous musicality.
The Amazon description above tells you all you need to know about the premise of this enterprising and wholly successful venture, so I won`t rehearse it here. But what a novel, yet so simple, idea, with a not-too predictable choice of arias from a stylistically eclectic range of operas, including, I`m glad to say, some wonderfully sung Berlioz.
They are sung with what I can only call an extreme joie de vivre, a vibrant joyousness which communicates directly, viscerally to the listener with the force of blazing sunlight. Some singers sing. This singer sings to me. What she must be like to hear live I can only imagine, and tremble at the thought.
I`ve heard Ms DiDonato interviewed, but even had I not I would know this is a woman of wit, humour, passion, intense humanity, and not a little sauce.
The excellent crime writer Donna Leon, each of whose novels contains an epigraph taken from a Mozart opera, has dedicated one of her books to her. Now, that`s praise.
If you love great singing, or if you just love opera, you will have to hear this splendid release. Towards the end I began to wonder if I could take much more, so glorious, so utterly sublime is the voice bursting through the speakers. In truth, I could have gone on listening for hours.
Essential, in every way.