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  • 1Da torbida procella06:05
  • 2Madre diletta, abbracciami07:38
  • 3Ma quando tornerai04:09
  • 4Lasciami piangere05:14
  • 5Morte, col fiero aspetto04:08
  • 6E pur cosi in un giorno... Piangerò la sorte mia06:45
  • 7Intorno all'idol mio06:54
  • 8Brilla nell'alma05:55
  • 9Geloso sospetto07:33
  • 10Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea, SV 308: "Disprezzata regina" (Octavia)06:04
  • 11Merope: Sposa, son disprezzata08:47
  • 12Col versar, barbaro, il sangue03:40
  • 13Vedi, se t'amo... Odio, furor, dispetto04:17
  • 14Ah ! Si la liberté me doit être ravie04:14
  • Total Runtime01:21:23

Info for Drama Queens

Crowned with a Grammy Award for her last album, Diva, Divo, Joyce DiDonato joins conductor Alan Curtis and Il complesso barocco for Drama Queens, an electrifying programme of royal arias from the 17th and 18th centuries, composed by figures as famous as Handel and Vivaldi and as little known as Orlandini and Porta. As DiDonato says: “High drama, profound emotion, fearless vocal writing, time-stopping passages, historical significance and real discovery ... What more could I ask for?”

“For me, this is my most exciting recording project to date,” says Joyce DiDonato,” because it is everything I deeply adore about the world of opera: high drama, profound emotion, fearless vocal writing, time-stopping passages, historical significance and real discovery. What more could I ask for?

“I wanted to return to this genre of music I love so deeply: the free, mysterious, profoundly moving world of Baroque opera, but to do it in the grandest fashion – from the throne of royalty! Each of the characters is a queen (or a sorceress, which equals queen in this fantastical world) ... Well, we have allowed one princess, because the aria is completely unknown and it is simply too beautiful to be left out: ‘Madre diletta, abbracciami’ by Giovanni Porta [c1675-1755].

The arias range in period from the dawn of opera, Monteverdi and Cesti, to lesser-known works by Gluck and Haydn. “We also include some little-known music by Reinhard Keiser [1674-1739], notably an aria with an amazing five-part accompaniment for solo bassoons, without strings,” adds Curtis. (Joyce DiDonato describes it as “an aria of jealousy, suspicion and torment with the bassoon and voice chasing each other.”)

“DiDonato produces her most emotionally moving and sensitively embellished singing in 'Madre diletta'...Wonderfully sung, passionately played and programmed intelligently - an exemplary recital.” (Gramophone Magazine)

“DiDonato caresses the plaintive lines of Piangero la sorte mia with the intensity of Bartoli, and brings a mordant, witchy edge to Ma quando tornerai...There’s sprightly support from Alan Curtis’s Italian period band. DiDonato’s fans won’t be disappointed.” (Sunday Times)

“In the slow-moving 'Lasciami pinagere' .DiDonato's timbre is at its most beautiful, her phrasing eloquent, the trills not distracting the smooth flow of the musical line...The virtuosity needed to triumph over the swift scalework is coruscatingly supplied by DiDonato...Alan Curtis's Complesso Barocco's partnership is invaluable...This is a treasure of a disc, for the music, the orchestra and Joyce DiDonato.” (International Record Review)

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano
Il Complesso Barocco
Alan Curtis, conductor

Joyce DiDonato
Winner of the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, Joyce DiDonato entrances audiences and critics alike across the globe, and has been proclaimed ‘perhaps the most potent female singer of her generation’ by The New Yorker. With a voice ‘nothing less than 24-carat gold’ according to the Times, DiDonato has soared to the top of the industry as both a performer and a fierce arts advocate, gaining international prominence in operas by Rossini, Handel and Mozart, as well as through her wide-ranging, acclaimed discography.

Born in Kansas and a graduate of Wichita State University and The Academy of Vocal Arts, Joyce DiDonato trained on the young artist programmes of San Francisco, Houston, and Santa Fe opera companies. Her signature parts include the bel canto roles of Rossini, leading the Financial Times to declare her Elena in La Donna del Lago, ‘simply the best singing I’ve heard in years’.

Much in demand on the recital circuit, in 2013 DiDonato was acclaimed for her debut recital tour of South America, where she will return in the summer of 2014. Recently she has appeared in concert and recital in Berlin, Vienna, Toulouse, Milan and Aspen. She rounded off the season as the guest singer at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

In opera she appeared last season as Romeo I Capuleti e i Montecchi for San Francisco Opera and the Bayerische Staatsoper, in the title role of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda for the Metropolitan Opera New York, and as Elena La donna del lago at Covent Garden and for Santa Fe Opera. Highlights in the current season include I Capuleti e i Montecchi in her native Kansas City, Cendrillon at the Liceu Barcelona, La Clemenza di Tito at the Lyric Opera Chicago, and a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Angelina La Cenerentola. DiDonato will end the current season in the title role of Maria Stuarda at the Royal Opera House.

An exclusive recording artist with Erato/Warner Classics, DiDonato’s Grammy-Award-winning solo CD, Diva Divo, comprises arias by male and female characters, celebrating the rich dramatic world of the mezzo-soprano. Her next recording, Drama Queens, was exceptionally well received, both on disc and on several international tours. A retrospective of her first ten years of recordings entitled ReJoyce! was released in August 2013.

Other honours include the highly-prized Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards in 2010, as well as Recital of the Year for the album Colbran, the Muse. She is an Inductee of the Gramophone Hall of Fame and has collected a German Echo Klassik Award as Female Singer of the Year, in addition to the Mets Beverly Sills Award, the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Singer of the Year, and citations from Operalia and the Richard Tucker and George London Foundations. She was recently awarded the prestigious Premio Franco Abbiati Award for Best Singer 2011.

Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Lyon
Founded in 1983, the Lyon Opera Orchestra’s first principal conductor was John Eliot Gardiner. Kent Nagano, Louis Langrée then Iván Fischer succeeded him until 2003. Since then, it has performed under the baton of conductors such as William Christie, Leopold Hager, Emmanuel Krivine, Kirill Petrenko, Lothar Koenigs, Gerard Korsten, Evelino Pidò, Bernhard Kontarsky and Sebastian Weigle. In September 2008, Kazushi Ono became its permanent conductor. Among the more than 70 recordings the orchestra has made, recent additions include the violin concertos of Dutilleux and Rafaël D’Haene with Iossif Ivanov conducted by Kazushi Ono, Divo, Diva – an album of airs interpreted by Joyce DiDonato conducted by Kazushi Ono – and, as DVDs, Lehár’s The Merry Widow and Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne. Many recordings have received distinctions from the music press and won national as well as international prizes, in particular Bellini’s La Sonnambula conducted by Evelino Pidò, with Natalie Dessay.

The Orchestra is also regularly receives invitations in France and abroad: the Edinburgh Festival, the Athens Festival, the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, Amsterdam (Emilie, a creation by Kaija Saariaho), the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Opéra-Comique and a tour in Japan with Kazushi Ono. Recently, it performed the world premiere of Thierry Escaich’s Claude.

Riccardo Minasi
was born in Rome in 1978. He has performed both as soloist as well as concertmaster with Le Concert des Nations of Jordi Savall, Accademia Bizantina, Concerto Italiano, Il Giardino Armonico, Al Ayre Español, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di S.Cecilia and Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid. He has also worked with the Concerto Vocale of René Jacobs, Ensemble 415, Luca Pianca, Viktoria Mullova, Albrecht Mayer, Christophe Coin and Reinhard Goebel. As a conductor he directed the Orchestra and Choir of the Opéra National de Lyon, Kammerakademie of Potsdam, Zürich Kammerorchester, Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, L'Arpa Festante, Recreation-Grosses Orchester of Graz, Attersee-Akademie Orchestra, ensemble Resonanz, European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO), Il Complesso Barocco, Holland Baroque Society and the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, of which he was the associate conductor between 2008 and 2011 . Invited by Kent Nagano he performed as concertmaster at the Belcanto Festival in Knowlton and collaborated as historical advisor for the Montrèal Symphony Orchestra in Canada. In 2010 he worked as assistant conductor, concertmaster, curator and editor of the critical edition of the opera Norma by Vincenzo Bellini with Cecilia Bartoli and Thomas Hengelbrock in Dortmund. In collaboration with Maurizio Biondi he will publish the critical edition of Norma for Baerenreiter in 2014. Since its foundation in 2012 he is the conductor of the ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro, with whom he has a full calendar of performances and has already realized many highly awarded recordings ranging from intrumental to operatic repertoire. From 2004 to 2010 he was professor of chamber music at the Conservatorio V. Bellini of Palermo, he has also given violin and orchestra master-classes, and lectures in historical practice at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge (USA), at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, the Chinese Culture University of Taipei (Taiwan), the Conservatory of Sydney (Australia), the Kùks Residence in the Czech Republic, at the Zürich Opera House, at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole and as the italian representative of the jury in 2009, at the auditions for the European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO). His recording of Biber’s Rosenkranz Sonaten published by Arts was a finalist at the Midem Classical Award in Cannes as album of the year in 2009. For the next season he will conduct Il Matrimonio segreto at the Zürich Opernhaus, Carmen at the Opéra National de Lyon, Rinaldo at the Theater an der Wien and on tour with Il Pomo d’Oro for Catone in Utica by Vinci, Siroe by Hasse, Tamerlano, Serse and Partenope by Händel.

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