* Notes *
Last night Joyce DiDonato (pictured left, photograph by Josef Fischnaller) performed with Il Complesso Barocco at the Green Music Center in Sonoma County. The performance is part of DiDonato's "Drama Queens" tour, which involves a program of Baroque arias in Italian. Beginning with Antonio Cesti's "Intorno all'idol mio" from Orontea, it was evident how dramatic and expressive DiDonato's voice is. The high-spirited ensemble also had a great deal of energy, as seen and heard to best effect during Vivaldi's Concerto for violin and strings RV 242, known as "per Pisendel." Director and violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky seemed quite cheerful and everyone playing was fully engaged in creating music.
The high point of the evening was certainly "Disprezzata regina" from L'incoronazione di Poppea. DiDonato gave a theatrical, compelling account of Ottavia's anguish, her voice shows a lot of nuance and range of emotion. The second half of the concert paired two arias for Cleopatra, first Hasse's "Morte, col fiero aspetto," followed by Händel's "Piangerò la sorte mia." DiDonato sang with a gorgeous pianissimo in "Madre diletta" by Zeno.
The three encores were "Lasciami piangere," "Col versar, barbaro, il sangue," and "Brilla nell'alma." DiDonato spoke before each one, approving of the new hall and joking about how it was nice to sing in the Bay Area in a dress, which has not happened in a long time.
* Tattling *
The audience was quiet but enthused. The modular Vivienne Westwood gown made especially for DiDonato's tour was much admired.