Stella del Belcanto

Hey opera lovers!
Today I really wanna talk about a very new album of Joyce DiDonato which is called «Stella di Napoli». I know I’m not a pioneer in reviewing this CD cause a lot of influential journals, newspapers, internet sources have done it before. But I just wanna share my emotions and thoughts with you as a usual opera listener, not as a critic. And I think this recording deserves to have many reviews because of its amazingness!
Photo: Pari Dukovic

This time Joyce presents us a compilation of belcanto arias. Some of them she has in her current repertoire and the others are very new and in general rarely performed nowadays. So for a person who is fond of belcanto, this album is a real treasure! I personally love discovering new things in this musical period so I was in anticipation to hear it! Joyce’s timbre is a perfect match for belcanto. She shines here like nowhere else and shows all her strengths and artistic abilities. Singing this kind of roles, she always has a huge success!
Photo: Pari Dukovic
The first track is the area «Ove T'Aggiri, O Barbaro» from Pacini’s opera «Stella di Napoli» which gave the title to the whole album and I think it’s a very right choice cause for me this Italian composer is the main surprise of this CD! I’ve had no idea about him before and after listening to his pieces I searched the Net to get to know about him more. Giovanni Pacini was rather popular at his time but the huge success of his contemporary Rossini overshadows his works.  I’m shocked that none of Pacini’s 70 operas is widely known or often staged nowadays…it’s very sad:(. But thanks to Joyce we can explore his talent! The extract from «Stella di Napoli» is my personal favorite track on this album. The melody is gorgeous, very memorable and this staccato rhythmic riff is just wonderful! The other Paccini’s piece which is the scene from «Saffo» is very dynamic and powerful. The singing choir in the background brings the energy to the aria so it captivates you straight away!
Photo: Pari Dukovic
One of the most beautiful melodies of this recording belongs to the aria «L'Amica Ancor Non Torna... Oh, Di Sorte Crudel» from Carafa’s opera «Le Nozze Di Lammermoor». It unintentionally refers us to Donizetti’s masterpiece not only because of the title but also because of crystal harp solo. It’s Lucia’s aria and it’s unbelievable that two belcanto composers associated this heroine with the same musical instrument! I think they both saw her as a very vulnerable and innocent girl in this story and it was very smart to choose the sound of harp to demonstrate it. Among other rarely performed operas presented by Joyce DiDonato are «La Vestale» by Mercadante and «Il Sonnambulo» by Valentini which are also a pure pleasure to listen to!

Besides the new music discoveries, here every listener can meet three giants of belcanto: Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti.

From Bellini Joyce chose «Dopo L'Oscuro Nembo» which is one of my favorite belcanto melodies ever and Romeo’s aria «Deh! Tu, Bell'Anima». If you read my blog for a while, you may know that I adore «I Capuleti e I Montecchi». I’m so glad that this CD includes this piece. Joyce’s voice is perfect for both parts; it flows so easily and so tenderly like honey. I enjoy her performance a lot!
Aria «Riedi Al Soglio» from Rossini’s opera «Zelmira» is a bright example of Joyce’s excellent technique. Nowadays she is considered to be one of the main Rossini singers on opera stage and here she proves us  why.
Photo: Pari Dukovic
Also the highlight of the recording is «Par Che Mi Dica Ancora» from Donizetti’s «Elisabetta Al Castello Di Kenilworth». This light and airy piece is another belcanto pearl we can enjoy on this CD. I like that the composer decided to use, I’m not sure, a celesta or a metallophone producing this magic sound. Yankeediva‘s voice slides down all passages as easily as a butterfly flies from one flower to another. It all makes this aria very special that you want to listen to it again and again! 
Photo: Pari Dukovic
One of the Joyce’s signature roles is Maria Stuarta in homonymous Donizetti’s opera. Honestly, I don’t like such «queeny» operas as a whole thing but they undoubtedly possess a few beautiful arias. And "Deh! Tu Di Un'Umile Preghiera" is definitely one of them. Joyce demonstrates the power and fortitude of her heroine and it sounds amazing with the support of the huge choir!

That’s it!

I hope you liked my review! And if you haven’t bought this CD yet, do it right now! But if you understand my feelings, then tell me about your favorite piece on this recording?

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