July 02, 2014

Joyce DiDonato sings Maria Stuarda at Covent Garden this week

The American mezzo proves her queenly credentials again with the role she made her own at the Met (on DVD).

Following her triumph as the first singer to portray Donizetti's Maria Stuarda at the Met for that house's 2012 New Year's Eve Gala, Joyce DiDonato reprises the role of Mary Queen of Scots for a new Royal Opera House production opening this Saturday 5 July.

Available on DVD from the Met's Live in HD series, her performances in this role are a tour de force, particularly the extended final scene before Maria's execution, which DiDonato likens to "being shot out of a canon".

The New York Times described it differently: "Ms. DiDonato is simply magnificent, singing with plush richness and aching beauty... A pianissimo high note, almost inaudible, emerged from Ms. DiDonato’s voice, slowly blooming in sound and throbbing richness."

The reigning queen of mezzo-sopranos is no stranger to the brilliant highs and tragic lows of royal women in opera, which she explored on her thrilling Baroque recital disc Drama Queens.

Maria Stuarda, however, takes DiDonato from Baroque into the world of Bel Canto, with a royal love triangle that eventually leads the imprisoned queen to the executioner's block.

The new Royal Opera House production, starring DiDonato in the title role with directors Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, opens Saturday 5 July and runs until the 18th.

The Met DVD of Maria Stuarda is available here.