February 06, 2019

Joyce DiDonato's Songplay Now Out

Joyce DiDonato's new recording Songplay is out now via Warner Classics and Erato

Two-time Grammy Award-winner and “commanding, royal presence” (Vanity Fair) Joyce DiDonato has just released her anticipated new recording, Songplay; stream/purchase here. Available on Erato/Warner Classics, Songplay will have a tour in support of its release kicking off in Seattle on February 18. To celebrate the release of Songplay, Warner Classics is partnering with medici.tv for a livestream of Joyce’s concert on March 4 from New York City’s Appel Room (part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series). Warner Classics is also partnering with ALL ARTS, who will film the Appel Room performance for broadcast on March 24 at 8pm (check local listings/ or visit ALL ARTS website here); it will immediately be available to view on the ALL ARTS website and streaming apps.

In addition to her Songplay release and tour, DiDonato has been named Carnegie Hall’s 2019-2020 Perspectives Artist, and will also appear at the Metropolitan Opera in La Clemenza di Tito in March/April, and in a series of Master Classes at Carnegie Hall on April 12, 13 and 14.

Called “the most potent female singer of her generation” by The New Yorker, DiDonato takes a creative turn on Songplay with vocal music from the Baroque and Classical periods, coupled with imaginative interpretations of jazz ballads and selections from the Great American Songbook. Listen to Conti: “Quella fiamma” from the cantata Doppo tante e tante pene from Songplay here. Watch a short clip of Joyce speaking about Songplay here.

DiDonato felt a natural connection between the older Italian songs and arias on the album, and the numbers from the American Songbook. “When my parents were having a martini on a Sunday afternoon (cocktail hour!), my dad would pull out his jazz LPs and I would sing along in full voice with Benny Goodman and his big band … This was music that I deeply loved. As we were playing with the Baroque selection for this album, there was a voice in my head saying, ‘But this song ‘Tu lo sai’, composed in the 17th century, expresses the same yearning as Duke Ellington’s ‘Solitude’, written in 1934. In a sense, they feel like the same song. So I thought it would be incredible to draw on both these genres – the aria antica and the American popular song – and show that we have essentially been singing the same songs for 400 years. These worlds line up in a truly organic way.”

Songplay, as a title, suggests exactly what this album is,” says the pianist Craig Terry, who developed the concept for the album along with DiDonato. Terry continues, “We are taking songs that are iconic for people who have studied classical singing and trying to reformat them – but in a way that stays true to the original intention. Joyce sings these songs with her own voice – she is not trying to be a jazz singer. Songplay will allow people to hear these songs and their words in a completely different way. Our goal with this album is to show people that a great song is a great song.”

The accomplished group of musicians on Songplay represent a variety of musical genres. They include pianist and harpsichordist Craig Terry (Music Director of the Ryan Opera Center @ Lyric Opera of Chicago), trumpeter Charlie Porter (Wynton Marsalis protégé), veteran jazz bassist Chuck Israels (Billie Holiday, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane) drummer Jimmy Madison, (Bill Evans, James Brown, Nina Simone, Chet Baker, George Benson), and Argentinian bandoneon player Lautaro Greco (Mercedes Sosa).

Kansas-born Joyce DiDonato is a multi-Award-winning performer and exclusive recording artist with Erato/Warner Classics. Winner of two Grammy’s, she has also won multiple Grammophone Awards, and is the recipient of such other prestigious notices as the Richard Tucker Award, New York City Opera’s Richard Gold Debut Award, Metropolitan Opera’s Beverly Sills Award and most recently the 2018 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, among many others. This season she sings Didon in Les Troyens for the first time on stage at the Vienna State Opera, Sesto at the Metropolitan Opera and the title role in Agrippina in a European concert tour with Il pomo d’oro. Additional recent performances include the BBC Proms and in Hamburg with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under Gardiner, Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Nézet-Séguin, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Muti and with the Accademia Santa Cecilia Orchestra under Pappano.

In 2019 she will embark on a tour in support of Songplay (dates below). A fierce advocate for the arts, Joyce has partnered with Carnegie Hall on initiatives including working with the men of Sing Sing Correctional Facility on creating and performing music, and the Lullaby Project, which pairs pregnant women and new parents with professional artists to write and sing personal lullabies for their babies.