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Joyce DiDonato mezzo-soprano
David Zobel piano
Lucy Wakeford harp


Wigmore Hall, 28 January 2010




Durante Danza, danza, fanciulla gentile
Pergolesi Se tu m'ami
Caccini Amarilli mia bella
Rossi Mio ben, teco il tormento
Paisiello Nel cor piu non mi sento
Rontani Or ch'io non sequo più

Hoffnung Op. 82 No. 1
Liebes-Klage Op. 82 No. 2
L’amante impatiente Op. 82 No. 3 & 4.
La partenza WoO124

Rossini Willow Song from 'Otello'

L'assiolo canta
Alba di luna sul bosco
Tristezza crepuscolare

Pizzetti Ocsuro è il ciel
Toselli Serentata
Donaudy O del mio amato bene

La Pastorella

Buzzi-Peccia Lolita, Serenata Spagnola
b Serenata Francese
Giuranna Canto Arabo
Di Chiara La Spagnola



Wigmore Hall song recitals don’t come any better than this one. The concept was a simple one: just a series of love songs, presented in roughly chronological order from the 18th to the 20th century, but the experience was raised to a pinnacle by the superb musicianship of all three artists on the stage.

Of course the capacity audience had been drawn to hear Joyce DiDonato, who always delights her audiences with her apparently effortless technical perfection, her skill in reflecting the changing emotions of each piece and her ability to share her enjoyment of the whole process. She was well matched by the playing of the young pianist David Zobel and harpist Lucy Wakeford.

Not every song that they had chosen belongs to the canon of “great music”, some in hands of lesser artists could have been dismissed as mere sentimental ballads. This performance raised them to the level of treasures and it became easy to understand why, for example Toselli’s Serenata and Donaudy’s O del mio amato bene were such favourites in my grandparents’ days.

The real “meat” of the evening came in the encores. I have already referred to Joyce DiDonato’s ebullient and infectious enthusiasm, and with typical generosity she took advantage of Lucy Wakeford’s presence on stage to make a pre-interval addition. Anna’s imploring prayer Giusto ciel, in tal periglio from the rarely performed opera Maometto II is one of Rossini’s jewels and, in this arrangement for harp and piano accompaniment that exactly fitted the scale of the Wigmore Hall, was nothing short of sublime.

The final encore was a longish extract from La donna del lago, and it would have been hard to find a more gloriously lyrical end to a memorable evening.

Both these arias, together with other Rossini highlights, feature in Ms DiDonato’s latest CD – Colbran, the Muse: Virgin Classics 50999 6945790 6 - with the Orchestra of the Academy of St Cecilia, Rome. Members of the audience were justifiably queuing to the street doors and beyond for the post-performance CD signing, and the early return of these artists to the Wigmore platform must be eagerly awaited.

Serena Fenwick