Meet Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano

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Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano, is one of today’s most sought-after opera stars and one of classical music’s most inspiring personalities. Her meteoric rise through the world of opera has been chronicled by international critics, including Alex Ross in a profile for The New Yorker.

She returns to Seattle on September 17 as the featured performer for the Seattle Symphony’s Opening Night Concert & Gala. This will not be her first appearance with the Symphony. As a young artist, DiDonato made an early concert debut singing Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle Symphony in 1999.

"It is a long-awaited thrill for me to return to the Seattle Symphony, and I’m thrilled to kick off what I hope will be a rousing, soul-stirring year,” said DiDonato.

The concert will feature her signature blend of repertoire, including the soaring beauty of opera and familiar favorites from the great American songbook.

“While I love singing, I think the thing that calls me to the stage even more is the desire to communicate and to tell a story,” said DiDonato. “I hope you will enjoy every note!” Among her favorite repertoire? Early baroque masterpieces like Italian composer Giovanni Pacini’s "Ove t’aggiri, o barbaro” (“Where are you, O cruel man?”) from Stella di Napoli (“Star of Naples”), which you can listen to below:

In addition to her spellbinding performances on-stage, Didonato is known for her community work. She performed at Sing Sing Prison in New York this year as part of a program with the Weil Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.

“Performing at Sing Sing has reaffirmed my long-held belief that music heals and breaks down seemingly insurmountable barriers, and that it belongs to everyone,” said DiDonato. “I have never encountered so much sincere gratitude and generosity as I did working with the inmates there, and witnessing their deep desire to learn and grow has changed me forever.”

Right now she is working on carrying that message of peace and healing through her upcoming album and concert tour, entitled In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music.

“It’s a deeply personal project and one that I hope to engage the listeners in a much more personal and active way,” said DiDonato. “I can’t think of a more pressing period of time when the world could stop for a moment to contemplate the very real possibility and choice of peace.”

DiDonato’s embrace of music as a means for individual healing fits perfectly with the theme of the Seattle Symphony’s Opening Night Gala, “Giving Voice to the Community.” Over the past several years, the Seattle Symphony has worked to create a new role for the symphony orchestra in the community, most recently with the launch of a new initiative to address homelessness, Simple Gifts.

Through artistic residencies, ticket programs and strategic partnerships, the Seattle Symphony works with more than 50 local nonprofits. Other community programs have included performances in Washington State Correctional Facilities.

Don’t miss Joyce DiDonato with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony on Saturday, September 17!

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Posted on August 11, 2016

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