Fans of the Abu Dhabi Festival can whet their appetite with a festival-preview concert in January. The multi Grammy-Award-winning American singer, Joyce DiDonato, will take to the Emirates Palace stage on January 24, and will be joined by Italy’s Il Pomo d’Oro Orchestra.
DiDonato is an internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano: with her rich and lyrical voice, she is viewed as an expert interpreter of the works of Handel, Mozart and Rossini.
Born in Kansas, DiDonato entered music from an academic perspective, with the initial aim of being an instructor. However, after watching a television broadcast of the opera Don Giovanni during her university years, she decided to study vocal performance. After winning a string of vocal competitions in the mid 1990s, DiDonato began performing professionally with several regional US opera companies before making her debut at Milan's famed La Scala in the 2000 production of Rossini's Le Cenerentola.
She has worked with premiere institutions ever since; collaborating with the Opéra National de Paris and New York City Opera, in addition to performing at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.
DiDonato's latest world tour is a sum of all of her experiences: named after her latest album In War and Peace, DiDonato explores compositions created in times of both joy and turmoil, and looks at how composers like Handel and Purcell reflected both serenity and conflict in their work.
“Creators of great art have been depicting atrocity and pandemonium alongside tranquility and harmony for centuries, boldly showing us both our brutal nature and our elevated humanity. Art unifies, transcends borders, connects the disconnected, eliminates status, soothes turmoil, threatens power and the status-quo, and gloriously exalts the spirit. Art is a valiant path to peace,” she said in a statement promoting the album.
“With the help of Handel and Purcell, among other masters, I respectfully invite you look at the interwoven worlds of external conflict and serenity, internal war and peace, and to contemplate where you wish to reside within yourself. As I have tried to convey in this selection of music, the power to bravely tip the scales towards peace lies firmly within every single one of us.”
DiDonato will be supported by one of the world's most sought after baroque orchestras: formed in 2012, Il Pomo d'Oro Orchestra has been nominated for this year's prestigious Gramophone Orchestra of the Year Award. For the 2017-2018 season, they performed recitals with the likes of Ann Hallenberg and Franco Fagioli, as well as for the Handel opera Ottone.
Pioneering Iraqi oudist Naseer Shamma performed at Barcelona's famed The Gran Teatre del Liceu last month as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival global outreach, and both that and DiDonato's performance aim to set the scene for the Abu Dhabi Festival, which returns to the capital next April – the full line-up will be revealed soon.
Joyce DiDonato and Il Pomo d’Oro Orchestra will perform at Emirates Palace on January 24. 8pm. Early bird tickets begin from Dh131.25 from www.abudhabifestival.ae