“TOP 10 CLASSICAL DISCS OF 2012″ ~ Alex Ross The New Yorker
“A SPLENDID, GENEROUS SURVEY OF REGAL RAGE, HAUTEUR AND HISTRIONICS. ” ~ Time Out NY
Grammy® Award winner Joyce DiDonato joins conductor Alan Curtis and Il complesso barocco for Drama Queens, an electrifying program of royal arias the 17th and 18th centuries, composed by figures as famous as Handel and Vivaldi and as little known as Orlandini and Porta. Innovative as ever, DiDonato now presents a new themed recital: Drama Queens sees DiDonato portraying a parade of royal personages in a diversity of challenging situations and extreme states of mind.
“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?”
“There are singers who are secure in technique but cautious in expression, there are singers who deliver passion but damage the ears, and then there is Joyce DiDonato, who consistently finds the golden mean. She is a singer not only of flair and power but of intelligence and taste.” ~ Alex Ross New Yorker November 2012
“DiDonato is in full fine form and throws her magnificent instrument into each of these pieces with a fury matched only by the inherent willfulness of the queens themselves […] simply exquisite” ~ Steven Ritter Audiophile November 2012
“What this album really offers is another chance to revel in a widely loved singer’s gloriously good performances. There might be a wink and a nod in the title [...] but DiDonato’s singing is sublime. This woman is a singer down to her bones. She is totally secure at all points of her register — gleaming at the top, rich and grounded at the bottom — with heartfelt lyricism and a musicality that can’t be faked.
DiDonato matches her impeccable technique with keen intelligence and actorly power. She makes us feel the passions and (to borrow two Baroque-and-before expressions) the humors and affections of characters who today can seem cartoonishly drawn. Only in opera can such furious snarls be delivered so beautifully!
DiDonato’s feat is that she makes us believe.And that’s as great a gift as her voice.” ~ Anastasia Tsioulcas NPR November 2012
“Baroque opera is a primeval emotional landscape populated by terrifying creatures: venomous queens, apoplectic gods, obsessive enemies, suicidal lovers. It is not where you would expect to find a cheery, Kansas-bred mezzo-soprano like Joyce DiDonato. Yet there she is, marching through this territory of extremes, handling its volatile wildlife with aplomb, making murderous emotions safe for human contact.” ~ Justin Davidson emusic January 2013
“Drama Queens: I should think that most of us have come across one or two of those but none who can sing as superbly as Joyce DiDonato. This is a treasure of a disc, for the music, the orchestra, and Joyce DiDonato.” ~ John T. Hughes International Record Review February 2013
“Glorious and magisterial.” ~ Barry Bassis Epoch Times November 2012
“Brilliant [...] what a wealth of feeling DiDonato lavishes upon the lament of the empress Octavia […] Numb with disbelief, engraved, despairing, resigned: DiDonato takes listeners on a harrowing journey, deploying her limpid, lit-from within voice like a knife inflicting so many stabs of pain.” ~ Marion Lignana Rosenberg WQXR: Operavore November 2012