It was spectacular to hear Joyce DiDonato Sunday in Philadelphia. She sang with everything in her power, not just the notes with beautiful color and phrasing but with her heart and soul.
We go way back, to August 1988 when we were at Wichita State University! Joyce and Katie (her roommate) were in Brennan 2 and I lived in Brennan 3. We also were in Benson Headley's sight singing class 3 (I had skipped 1 and 2 the summers before, along with theory and violin lessons!) - which was interesting to say the least. We later were in Bertil H. Van Boer's Music History classes together, sang in Concert Chorale under Bob Glasmann, and in lots of operas - I in the pit and Joyce either in the chorus or with a role, often directed by George Gibson.
But that was many years ago!
We've stayed in touch, and even run across each other - once in Richmond, VA where she was a soloist for the Messiah, and I at National Public Radio, and another friend, Sara Avery, the principal 2nd violinist. Last time I saw her I had been engaged and just back from New York City to hear a friend's Carnegie Hall debut (this was 1999 - and I never got married, long story, ask me sometime!) and my then fiancee and I stopped to visit Joyce at her home in Kansas City.
Yesterday it was like no time had passed - in fact, Joyce came out on stage smiling, but as she saw me in the 2nd row (I was in her line of sight off to the right) she smiled even bigger - later I got a wink, and when she mentioned singing Copland at WSU, gestered towards me with her left hand. It was sweet. Her husband, Leo, teased me afterwards about being jealous, mentioning the smiles and wink, and even the WSU nod. It was awesome to meet him, and spend a brief few minutes reconnecting. I took five friends from around the area (and even my ex-fiancee!), who all just flipped over Joyce.
She has a link up on her blog (for ClassicallyHip) for one of my posts about performing Rossini back in Wichita, oh so many years ago. Take a look, she has wonderful insights and photos on YankeeDiva!