Joyce DiDonato's latest release deals with "external conflict and serenity," and "internal war and peace." A direct reaction to terrorist attacks in Paris, Joyce has brought art and healing to a 21st Century struggle. In War and Peace (Erato) will be available from November 4, 2016 and can previewed through DiDonato's facebook, instagram and twitter feeds. She's already been sharing amazing quotes from the likes of David Hyde Pierce to John Elliot Gardiner to the question: In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace? (warning: DiDonato's answer is below, marked by a spoiler alert!)
In War & Peace is truly one for the ages. Every time you think DiDonato has outdone herself (albums singing the "pants" and the feminine; dramatic queens; furious Handelian arias) she shares the genius of her voice and in ease that only Joyce can convey, the concept that is obvious and required for the times. Never have I been drawn to "Scenes of horror" but from the very opening track from Handel's Jephtha, articulations are crisp, rhythms tight, and passions aflame.
How has Niccolo Jommelli been neglected? He will now be placed on recitals around the globe since DiDonato has brought him out of the darkness. I suspect that Lionardo Leo will be getting some love as well. (I had known some cello concertos, but definitely his vocal writing is sublime and moving!) Hearing gems from Handel's Rinaldo are fetching, and to have a studio recording of DiDonato in Dido is not only definitive, I can imagine it on the next sort of Voyager golden record.
Maxim Emelyanychev and Il Pomo D'Oro delight in their ensemble and execution. Anna Fusek floats in a sopranino recorder solo in Almirena's aria from Rinaldo, Agrippina's thoughts are even more torturous with oboist Magdalena Karolak's playing, and stellar continuo playing throughout with Emelyanychev, Andrew Lawrence-King, and Simopne Vallerotonda make you feel as if you are in the Grand Hotel Toblach.
Just as DiDonato finds peace through love, I love In War & Peace. You will too!
[End Spoiler alert]
DiDonato will perform in Chicago on Friday, December 9th at Harris Theater.