September 01, 2014

Joyce DiDonato's new album Stella di Napoli out today!

And the critics are unanimous: the mezzo's star is brighter than ever in bel canto showpieces and rarities.

On the cover of her new album Stella di Napoli, Joyce DiDonato seems to burst out of the darkness with a snap of her fingers; frozen in a bold, dramatic gesture, sumptuously attired in a 1980s-inspired yet timelessly regal Alexander McQueen gown... The very picture of a modern opera star.

And that's before she's sung a single note.

The album has just hit shelves today but is already receiving rave reviews from the major players in the UK. “You may think bel canto recital discs are not your thing. Let Joyce DiDonato convince you otherwise. She did me," opined Fiona Maddocks in The Observer on Sunday, praising the mezzo's "dizzying technical virtuosity, her acting skills and her extravagant sense of drama".

"DiDonato leaves no doubt that her own star is at its height," declared The Financial Times, while The Times enthused: "Hear this Naples - it's to die for!", both in 5-star reviews.

If the look is as fabulous as the sound, DiDonato explains that the style of the album's photo shoot brings the extravagance of the birth of bel canto into the modern world. "When I look to the early nineteenth century in Naples, I envision a world like that of Andy Warhol’s neon-lit New York City in the ’60s, or Gertrude Stein’s Paris of the ’20s: a hotbed of creativity, rife with bold risk-taking, volcanic artistic output which radically altered the existing artistic landscape," she says.

"It was here in Naples that star after star was born, melody after melody, and to connect to this vivid, arrestingly emotional time of ‘beautiful singing’ now in the early twenty-first century lights up my musical and artistic soul like a supernova."

Stella di Napoli (Star of Naples) is available now.