Thursday, July 25, 2013

DiDonato's Debut Delightful

Bravo! Before two encores at Harris Concert Hall 
Joyce DiDonato is a shining star in the operatic world. She has won awards from the Grammys to Richard Tucker, Operalia, Beverly Sills, and an Echo Klassik Award.
She's sung from La Scala to Santa Fe, Covent Garden to Houston Grand, and everywhere in between! So Tuesday, it was a great delight to hear Joyce's debut at the Aspen Music Festival and School in Harris Concert Hall in Colorado.
The program was "something I wanted to share with you," said DiDonato from the stage. "Since this is my first time here, I wanted to show you want I do." What a program it was, including Mozart, Rossini, and gorgeous Spanish songs.
It started with a joke actually. DiDonato and pianist David Zobel were welcomed by enthusiastic audience with cheers and applause. DiDonato quipped after her curtsy, "I'm out of breath already!" (no doubt from the 7900ft elevation of Aspen.) The Obradors songs followed with sumptuousness, something I had heard at her Senior recital at WSU oh so many years ago, but was reminded of when she came back on stage, and asked, "No really, does anyone have any oxygen?!" She then entertained a bit about the program and sang from Drama Queens, Sposa son disprezzata by Giacomelli.
The first half rounded out with a "Beaumarchais trio", two arias from The Marriage of Figaro, and one from the Barber of Seville, perhaps Joyce's calling card, Una voce poco fa.
The second half was stunning, running with an aria from Rossini's Otello, followed by my favorite on the program, Reynaldo Hahn's Venezia.
Clare and DiDonato afterwards
(There was also a costume change, noting only because the gorgeous red gown that DiDonato wore in the first half was replaced by a fetching rainbow dress for the second half.) Joyce spoke about the premiere of the Hahn before she sang them, only to stop before Che peca and give the audience the image that she thinks about when performing it (a heavy set man in a white t-shirt above the canals, smoking a cigar from the balcony/window!)
Two more early 20th century songs rounded out the debut in Aspen.
But the audience was given two more gifts, an encore of Alberto Ginastera's Cancion del arbol del olvido, and what DiDonato is singing currently in Santa Fe, Rossini's La Donna Del Lago.
The sound at Harris was exquisite, no doubt benefitting from Zobel's sensitive interpretations, and DiDonato's incredible range of dynamics. Personality from both, with smiles, acting, anecdotes and supreme musicality made the night magical. This was the recital debut, but hopefully there will be more with Joyce DiDonato on stage and in concert at the Aspen Music Festival!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Make a gift

The San Antonio Symphony Board of Directors is proud to offer a $125,000 Summer Matching Grant.
Help them meet the match by July 31st. The San Antonio Symphony is the epicenter of the city’s performing arts.
From their release: "We are continuously shaping the dynamics of our community through the performance of symphonic, opera, and ballet repertoire. We perform side-by-side concerts with student musicians and conduct master classes and concerts at area schools, civic centers and non-profits.
 Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing and our many talented musicians reach well beyond the Majestic Theater stage to make a difference throughout the community.
 The San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers are regularly featured on Symphony concerts, performing Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 this past season.
Our collaboration with Ballet San Antonio is the city’s only live-music production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
The Youth Orchestras of San Antonio boast Symphony musicians among their conducting and coaching staffs, and their students perform in an annual side-by-side concert with the Symphony.
Our musicians have created San Antonio’s greatest chamber ensembles, including Camerata San Antonio, Olmos Ensemble, SOLI Chamber Ensemble and the all-new Q Chamber Series.
The Opera San Antonio’s opening gala concert was beautifully supported by the Symphony under the leadership of Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing, and we will partner with TOSA in presenting Dvorák's Rusalka in 2014.
And the 2014 Dvorák Festival will mark the fourth consecutive season we have collaborated with the city’s cultural and performing arts institutions to present a compendium of a composer’s works. Previous partners have included KLRN, the San Antonio International Piano Competition, Musical Bridges Around the World, San Antonio Museum of Art and many more!"

Contact the symphony at (210) 554-1052 or email Emily Brandesky