Tag Archives: Joyce DiDonato

April 21 —  April 27


Joyce DiDonato’s Master Classes 

Ms. DiDonato described her three master classes (April 21, April 22, April 23), given before the public, as a playground and as a three day arc. For two hours on three afternoons a packed house in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing watched and listened as the maestra took four singers through their paces. In addition, they had worked with Ms. Donato each morning. Francesca Chiejina, soprano, Ané Pretorius,

Joyce DiDonato and Germán Enrique Alcántara
Joyce DiDonato and  Ané Pretorius
Francesca Chiejina
Francesca Chiejina and Germán Enrique Alcántara
Joyce DiDonato and  Ané Pretorius
Jose Simerilla Romero and Joyce DiDonato blowing through straws
Joyce DiDonato

mezzo-soprano, Jose Simerilla Romero, tenor and  Germán Enrique Alcántara, baritone were accompanied by two accomplished pianists, Justina Lee and Shannon McGinnis.  It was glorious. Ms. Donato’s knowledge of music and people coupled with her teaching genius made the sessions a delicious respite from our contentious world. She had a singer blowing through a straw, two other singers dancing, and another singer sitting on a stack of three chairs. Why not? The master classes were streamed live online.





Generation Women shared secrets on April 25. It was  story telling by women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s. Each participant had seven minutes  to tell her secret and the fun began at 7 pm. It was at the Caveat Theatre, a  New York speakeasy, on 21 A Clinton Street. The April 25 event was sold out but please come to the May event. 


Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a stabbed partner? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?  It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

New York City Blog — Dec. 14 – Dec. 17

Standing in line, hoping we’d get in, we got the last two seats in MOMA’s Theater 3 for Big Deal on Madonna Street. Its Italian title is I Soliti Ignoti (The Usual Suspects ). It was directed by Mario Monicelli and had a stellar cast: Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastrioanni, Toto, (the beloved Neopolitan wise guy of Italian movies), Renato Salvatori, Claudia Cardinale. And, of course, post-war Rome. The movie dates from 1958 and shows the urban poor scrabbling to survive in gritty Rome. Italy had an awful war: a maelstrom of individual bravery, stoicism, ridicule, suffering, fleeing. and famine. In I Soliti Ignoti there’s a scene in which the inept thieves gobble food they’ve discovered in the house they’re burglarizing. It reminded me of Sophia Lorne eating ravinously in the 1960 masterpiece, Two Women set in the time of World War 2.

Pouring out of a packed, usually quiet restaurant, on Thursday night we went to Carnegie Hall. The NYC buzz was in high gear. Joyce DiDonato, the mezzo soprano, presented In War and Peace: Harmony through Music. As we entered the Hall, we saw Ms. DiDonato sitting stationary on the stage, so still that I thought she was a statue. In addition to her singing there was interpretive dancing by Manuel Palazzo. As light designs shimmered across the stage, Ms. DiDonato, representing War and Peace, sang sections, from among others, Handel and Purcell. Her question to the enthusiastic audience was, In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?

Joyce DiDonato: In War & Peace:Harmony Through Music






Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing, a troubled nine year old, befriends a lying seventeen year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

New York City Blog Oct. 30 – Nov. 5

I love so many aspects of opera: its history, its backstage drama, the composers’ lives but I don’t appreciate sitting through performances. The solution is to attend recitals and master classes. Last week I attended two sessions of a Joyce DiDonato Master Class at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Room. The room was electric with anticipation. Promptly at 4 p.m. each day Joyce DiDonato soared into the studio. She’s about 5’ 2” and packed with energy. The four gifted, brave participants sat in the front row of the 100 seated room. Maestra DiDonato had already worked for one day with Suzannah Waddington, soprano, Sophia Fiuza Hunt, mezzo-Soprano, Raphaella Medina, mezzo-Soprano and Haô Ting, tenor. The singers were accompanied by Justina Lee and Djordje Nesic. DiDonato referred to the Weill Music Room as a safe playground for magic to happen. She is bubbly, engaging and deadly serious about music. Some of her remarks were: Technique, discipline and desire. Talk to us. Show us who you are. If something is 99% true, it’s false. It has to be 100%.

To loosen up tenor Haô Ting she had him take off his jacket and shoes and sing while doing push ups. She told the four singers to get off the hamster wheel by traveling for three months. During that time, not to sing. Instead, learn a foreign language well, eat the food, sit in cafes, imbibe the culture. When you return, after two weeks of warm ups, your voice will be better than ever.

Joyce DiDonato is a musical activist who exhorted us, her mesmerized audience, to make it an active part of our lives.You can see this dynamo in action on YouTube.

Weill Music Room
Weill Music Room

Off to the Green Party in Thompkins Square Park. Isn’t democracy dangerous?