Wednesday, 2 September 2015

All of Joyce

Joyce DiDonato's latest recording is a live one of a performance at the Wigmore Hall and is exactly the sort of thing with the pure acoustic which makes it a leading chamber venue. The intimacy of the event is conveyed effectively without muffling the sound - something quite similar to the purity of the hall itself.
This recital had everything you want from Joyce: seemingly endless vocal lines, as if spun from honey; unparallelled coloratura; the warmth of humanity and personality which somehow bubbles through. Laughter and cheering seemed to be present in equal measures.
The programming was broad. Serious if obscure opera (in same line as 'Stella di Napoli' the rightly-feted selection of bel canto arias) starts proceedings. The first is a Haydn Ariadne scene (20m) but even the individual arias seem fleshed-out in a way they so rarely are on these occasions.

Pappano offers the Rolls-Royce of accompaniment. And why not when the results are this good? He might even be a better repetitieur than conductor. Or at least as good.
After the interval: American show tunes. It demonstrates the benefits of the classical voice as well as nearly anything in Pappano's classical voices on the BBC recently.
Humour isn't lacking (Life upon the Wicked Stage) in both choice of repertoire and occasional humorous interludes - dates at the Wigmore Hall are confirmed despite lyrics claiming Joyce has had enough of life on stage. Less is said about "Stage Door Johnnies"-  but I'll guess there is a fair few of those hanging around afterwards.
The final track is 'Somewhere over the rainbow'. Only Joyce could finish off with this having started with unfamiliar Haydn scenes and it seem right. Tender, luscious, honeyed but unsickly tones. With others it would be too much, but not Joyce. On his programme, Pappano's called Mezzos earth goddesses. Seems about right. 

Erato double-disc set, very reasonably priced.

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