“For me, this is my most exciting recording project to date,” says Joyce DiDonato,” because it is everything I deeply adore about the world of opera: high drama, profound emotion, fearless vocal writing, time-stopping passages, historical significance and real discovery. What more could I ask for?
“I wanted to return to this genre of music I love so deeply: the free, mysterious, profoundly moving world of Baroque opera, but to do it in the grandest fashion – from the throne of royalty! Each of the characters is a queen (or a sorceress, which equals queen in this fantastical world) ... Well, we have allowed one princess, because the aria is completely unknown and it is simply too beautiful to be left out: ‘Madre diletta, abbracciami’ by Giovanni Porta [c1675-1755].
The arias range in period from the dawn of opera, Monteverdi and Cesti, to lesser-known works by Gluck and Haydn. “We also include some little-known music by Reinhard Keiser [1674-1739], notably an aria with an amazing five-part accompaniment for solo bassoons, without strings,” adds Curtis. (Joyce DiDonato describes it as “an aria of jealousy, suspicion and torment with the bassoon and voice chasing each other.”)