I've just been listening to a new album - Diva, Divo - by Joyce DiDonato. Such an amazing voice. The ultimate in a mezzo-soprano. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. It's available at all the usual outlets.
Joyce DiDonato's capacity for characterization is as astounding as the range and flexibility of her voice. This new collection showcases DiDonato's multi-faceted art, and the wealth of opportunities open to a mezzo-soprano by presenting her as different characters- both male and female- from the same opera story.
As DiDonato explains: "This recital celebrates the vast and fabulous world of the mezzo-soprano. Aside from the obvious Toscas or Cio-Cio Sans, I've never regretted the length of my vocal cords! I have the privilege and unmitigated joy of playing boys and young men, as well as girls and grown women ... It's an exploration of the human palette of emotions."
The program features several roles that DiDonato has sung on stage, such as Rossini's Cenerentola, Bellini's Romeo, and Mozart's Cherubino. The 'flip sides' of those characters are roles that have not been featured in her repertoire: the Prince from Massenet's Chérubin; the Nurse from Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, and both Chérubin (from Massenet's 'sequel' to Le nozze di Figaro) and Susanna. The Figaro connection continues with an excerpt from Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rosina, of course, later becomes Countess Almaviva), while the other operas on the program, include La clemenza di Tito (Sesto and Vitellia), Faust, La Damnation de Faust, Mefistofele.
Accompanying Joyce DiDonato in this tour de force is the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Lyon under the company's Principal Conductor Kazushi Ono, another artist who successfully embraces an extraordinary diversity of musical idioms.
Video and quoted paragraphs from EMIClassics
One of my favorites from the album, although this is a gem from a performance in 2007.
“Contro un cor” (Rosina) from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (1816)