She sings at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, at London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden, at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, as well as at the state opera houses in Munich and Vienna: The Kansas-born mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and Grammy Award winner, has made an international career in recent years starting in San Francisco, Houston and Santa Fe. She is considered an ideal interpreter of operatic roles by Handel, Mozart, Rossini and Strauss. Her great asset: a warm, nuanced and flexible voice which can impressively master virtuoso coloratura equally as well as intimate, lyrical phrases.

A pure soul

As a result, she is an ideal interpreter of Marguerite and her pure, ultimately tragic love for Faust in Hector Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust, the role with which the singer made her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker at this year’s Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. “With her radiant messa di voce, Joyce DiDonato is an extremely intensive Marguerite,” wrote the Badisches Tagblatt about her performance. Together with their male colleagues tenor Charles Castronovo as Faust and bass Ludovic Tézier as Méphistophélès, the mezzo-soprano can now be heard in the Berlin Philharmonie on 10 and 11 April in Berlioz’ work, a unique and very French adaptation of Goethe’s play, half opera, half choral symphony, which brings out the passionate and emotional aspects of the characters. In the Baden-Baden Live Lounge, the singer spoke enthusiastically about working with the orchestra: “What took my breath away in rehearsals was this incredible pianissimo. When the orchestra suddenly becomes very quiet, it is as if heaven opens.”

Berlin success

Joyce DiDonato, who not only has a beguiling voice but also convincing acting skills and an irresistible charm, is a familiar face to Berlin audiences. In October 2012, she made her debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Rosina in Katharina Thalbach’s production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. She also shone there in a concert performance of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and at the Aids Gala. In Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation concerts, the singer made a guest appearance in June 2013 with a recital in the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie with the theme A Venetian journey. That evening, she proved not only to be a gifted recital singer, but also revealed herself to be a soccer fan: the German national team was fighting to get into the next round of the European Championships at that time, and every time she came on stage, she informed the audience about the current state of play before continuing her performance.