Diva Divo

Diva Divo

by Joyce DiDonato


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The frequency with which mezzo sopranos are called on to play male roles lies behind the ingenious premise for Diva Divo. Joyce DiDonato has selected pairs of operas that basically have the same plot or source, and sings an aria from a role written for a male character from one, and for a female character from the other. Sometimes both of the operas are well known, as in the case of Faust and "La Damnation de Faust." Generally, though, this involves pairing a familiar opera with one less familiar ("La Clemenza di Tito" by Mozart and Gluck, two of the nearly 40 settings of Metastasio's libretto), with the prolific Massenet providing three of the dark horses: Chérubin for "Le nozze di Figaro," Cendrillon for "La cenerentola," and Ariadne for "Ariadne auf Naxos." Because of the composers' differing styles and sensibilities, it would not be immediately evident to someone unfamiliar with the music to detect which of the paired arias was for a man and which was for a woman. Mozart's Vitellia, in fact, sounds considerably more forcefully masculine than Gluck's Sesto. DiDonato's performances are absolutely first-rate throughout, proving her equally up roles assigned to either gender. Her voice is notable for its clarity, evenness, and agility, and it's beautifully showcased in a virtuoso aria like Rosina's "Contro un cor" from "Il barbiere di Siviglia." She is just as effective in the long-breathed lyricism of Susanna's "Deh, vieni, non tardar" from "Le nozze di Figaro," "Premiers transports" from Berlioz's "Roméo et Juliette," and Siébel's "Faites-lui mes aveux" from "Faust." Each of the selections demonstrates DiDonato's acute musicality and her gift for probing characterizations. Kazushi Ono leads the Orchestra and Chorus of l'Opéra National de Lyon in respectful accompaniment. Virgin's sound is clear and clean, but favors the orchestra at the expense of the voice on several tracks.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/25/2011
Label: Erato
UPC: 0825646381753
catalogNumber: 41986


  1. Chérubin, opera in 3 acts: Je suis gris!

    1. Je suis gris!  (01:38)
  2. Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492: Giunse alfin il momento

    1. Giunse alfin il momento  (01:28)
  3. Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492: Deh, vieni, non tardar

    1. Deh, vieni, non tardar  (03:07)
  4. La clemenza di Tito, opera in 3 acts, Wq. 16: Se mai senti spirarti sul volto

    1. Se mai senti spirarti sul volto  (09:19)
  5. La Clemenza di Tito, opera, K. 621: Ecco il punto, o Vitellia

    1. Ecco il punto, o Vitellia  (02:13)
  6. La Clemenza di Tito, opera, K. 621: Non più di fiori

    1. Non più di fiori  (06:34)
  7. Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492: Voi che sapete

    1. Voi che sapete  (02:52)
  8. Il barbière di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), opera: Contro un cor

    1. Contro un cor  (07:31)
  9. Faust, opera: Faites-lui mes aveux

    1. Faites-lui mes aveux  (02:57)
  10. La Damnation de Faust, for mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, chorus and orchestra, ("légende dramatique") H. 111 (Op. 24): D'amour l'ardente flamme

    1. D'amour l'ardente flamme  (08:07)
  11. Roméo et Juliette, for alto, tenor, bass, chorus & orchestra ("symphonie dramatique"), H.79 (Op. 17): Premiers transports que nul n'oublie

    1. Premiers transports que nul n'oublie  (06:32)
  12. I Capuleti e i Montecchi, opera: Ascolta! Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio...La tremenda

    1. Ascolta! Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio...La tremenda ultrice spada  (07:11)
  13. Cendrillon, opera in 4 acts: Allez, laissez-moi seul...Coeur sans amour, printe

    1. Allez, laissez-moi seul...Coeur sans amour, printemps sans roses  (04:03)
  14. La cenerentola (Cinderella), opera: Nacqui all'affanno

    1. Nacqui all'affanno  (07:47)
  15. Ariane, opera in 5 acts: Ô frêle corps...Chère Cypris

    1. Ô frêle corps...Chère Cypris  (05:56)
  16. Ariadne auf Naxos, opera, Op. 60-II (TrV 228a) (revised version): Sein wir wieder gut!

    1. Sein wir wieder gut!  (03:18)

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Diva Divo 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
JOYCE DiDONATO: DIVA/DIVO as a concept for a recording is just one of the many aspects of this extraordinarily gifted artist: the creative idea of a mezzo-soprano singing both the male and female roles from operas of the same theme is an exciting and original one. Add to that that the agility and sensitivity of DiDonato's technique and glorious scope of her vocal instrument as well as her ability to inhabit every role or song of composers so completely and professionally and the thrill of this recording may begin to be understood. Joyce DiDonato has become a true diva around the world in a relatively short time. An American singer from Kansas she has stunned the opera stages with her interpretation of many of the Rossini roles (she is now preparing Rossini's 'La Donna del Lago' to add to her repertoire). It is rare to find a singer with such flexibility over a very wide range - contralto to coloratura - and never offer anything but beautiful tone and ardor to the entire spectrum. Something that can't be completely appreciated from recordings alone is the impact she has as a stage presence: in her recent solo recital in Los Angeles she opened the program with the impossibly demanding 'Scena di Berenice' by Haydn and could have made that her sole offering for the evening, so powerful and acrobatically perfect and emotionally profound was that rarely heard scene. The remainder of her program was as creative as the opening (Chaminade, Rossini, Hahn, and some rarely heard Italian songs), interspersed with the warmest audience conversations and comments that rarely accompany a recital so demanding. The same can be said of this fascinating program. She offers trouser roles and female heroines from various operas, matching Massenet's 'Chérubin' the same character as created by Mozart for Le Nozze di Figaro, two characters from two operas that are based on the fairy tale of Cinderella (Rossini's 'Centerentola' versus Massenet's 'Cendrillon'), 'Ariane' of Massenet with Strauss's Composer from 'Ariadne auf Naxos', and so forth. it is a very clever idea and DiDonato pulls it off with such ease and interest that audiences will find this recording being a mainstay on the CD player. Favorite arias such as 'Contro un cor' (with tenor Edgaras Montvidas as the Count) from 'The Barber of Seville' and 'Voi che sapete' are side by side with many arias with which most are completely unfamiliar. Kazushi Ono conducts the Orchestre et choeur de l'Opéra National de Lyon as a fine collaborator. Joyce DiDonato has it all - brilliance of technique, intelligence, creativity of programming, alluring interpretations, and remarkable physical beauty. This is one of the finest collections recorded in years. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp