Time Travel: Via the Royal Waves of Sound

Guest Blogger

Written for the Huffington Post, Joyce writes about bringing “Drama Queens” to life:

Standing on the stage in Bremen, Germany last week for the second stop of my Drama Queens Tour, I had just finished a nearly two-hour marathon of singing about jealousy, revenge, seduction, lust, despair and marching-off-to-sacrifice-myself-to-appease-those-angry-gods (you know how pesky they can be!). The generous audience was stamping its feet football-style, kindly demanding an encore. There I stood, possessing only a few polite sentences of German in my limited vocabulary, begging their indulgence while I spoke in English, because “the only German I really know are the important words, like bratwurst and brot.”


Drama Queens – Available Now!

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?”

Release date: November 6, 2012

Booklet – English, German , French

Press Quotes | Track Listing

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Foreword by Joyce DiDonato

We singers tend to boast that our careers offer the best form of psychotherapy in existence, for we are allowed to work out the bulk of our inner demons courtesy of the larger-than-life drama queens we encounter on the stage – those divine ladies who weep and love, moan and avenge more grandly and stylishly than in any other art form. On the surface, this therapy is a definite plus in a field fraught with challenges and extreme pressures. However, the real release and joy comes when we add you, the listener, to the mix and we carry out the unspoken pact to travel together to these hidden places we often work so hard to avoid in daily life.

Why do we adore these queens of the drama? The answer, for me, lies at the heart of why we love opera: we yearn to open hidden doors to the richest, most complex, utterly human and profoundly moving emotions that we may not be able to access when left to our own devices. The crazy plots and extreme circumstances of the operatic universe give us permission to unleash our often too-idle imaginations. We willingly enter this world of high drama, praying that we will find a welcome release in Cleopatra’s broken, haunted tears, or that we will be allowed to weep at Rossane’s unbridled joy, or perhaps learn to love a bit more purely through Orontea’s heartfelt plea to her sleeping lover.

The Baroque drama queen apologises for nothing, hides nothing (unless it serves her purpose, of course), lays herself bare without filter, and through glorious, magisterial vocal music gives us permission to dare to do the same. Who needs therapy?

Joyce DiDonato, 2012

Drama Queens at Carnegie Hall

GRAMOPHONE: In conversation with Joyce DiDonato

The mezzo-soprano responds to Gramophone readers’ questions following the release of her new album of Baroque royal arias, ‘Drama Queens’, on Virgin Classics
A few weeks ago Gramophone gave its readers the opportunity to submit their own questions via Facebook and Twitter for acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who has recently released ‘Drama Queens’ with Il Complesso Barocco under conductor Alan Curtis – a disc of royal arias from the 17th and 18th centuries. Watch footage from the album below courtesy of Virgin Classics.

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Press quotes for “Drama Queens”

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.”
~ Alex Ross New Yorker November 2012

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