June 17, 2016

Joyce DiDonato wins 2016 Maria Callas Prize for world-premiere opera performance

The American mezzo adds another prize to the mantle for her role in Jake Heggie & Terrence McNally's 'Great Scott'.

The Dallas Opera has crowned Joyce DiDonato 2016 Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year. Voted by Dallas Opera subscribers, the prestigious prize is awarded to a single performer each season in recognition of a particularly outstanding company debut.

"I'm deeply honoured, and reminded by the stirring role of Arden Scott that music matters!" DiDonato said in a statement.

In October 2015, the mezzo-soprano created the central role in the triumphant world premiere of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally's Great Scott.

Named for the greatest opera icon of the 20th century, the prize will be presented to DiDonato as an etched crystal plaque, created by Tiffany & Co. and bearing the likeness of Maria Callas.

Having previously collaborated with Heggie on a milestone recording of his opera Dead Man Walkingin which she gave a deeply moving performance as Sister Helen Prejean, DiDonato this time portrayed a character even closer to home: that of American opera singer Arden Scott.

DiDonato has since taken on the challenging role of a very different American opera personality for her feature film debut, in a biopic exploring the life of Florence Foster Jenkins - universally acknowledged as the worst opera singer who ever lived. (Have no fear - reviews for DiDonato's stellar performance in Great Scott were unanimously enthusiastic, with Opera Today praising the mezzo for singing 'like an angel.')

Great Scott has been recorded by Erato for release in 2017. Also starring Ailyn Pérez, Frederica von Stade, Nathan Gunn, and Anthony Roth Costanzo.