'Perhaps my most personal project to date,' is how mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato describes In War and Peace: Harmony through Music. Her ambitions for this collection of arias from Baroque operas are substantial. Surrounded as we are by instability, she hopes it will help us find an answer to a vitally important question: 'In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?'
In War and Peace: Harmony through Music was recorded with Il Pomo d’Oro under its principal conductor Maxim Emelyanychev. The programme comprises 15 arias divided into two sections: ‘War’ and ‘Peace’. Both contain music by Purcell and Handel – including, to close ‘War’, Dido’s dignified, but searing lament from Dido and Aeneas and Almirena’s haunting and heartbreaking ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ from Rinaldo. An excerpt from Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse is included in ‘Peace’, which concludes with Cleopatra’s spirited and defiantly optimistic ‘Da tempeste il legno infranto’ from Giulio Cesare. A further aria from Giulio Cesare is the bonus track for the album; it is Sesto’s touching apostrophe to hope, ‘Cara speme’, which Joyce DiDonato sings unforgettably on a floating whisper of breath.
1. Jeptha: Scenes of Horror, scenes of woe
2. Leo Andromaca: Prendi quel ferro, o barbaro! (world premiere recording)
3. Giulio Cesare: Vani sono i lamenti…Svegliatevi nel core
4. The Indian Queen: They tell us that you mighty powers above
5. Agrippina: Pensieri, voi mi tormentate
6. Dido and Aeneas: Dido’s Lament Thy hand, Belinda…When I am laid in earth
7. Rinaldo: Lascia ch’io pianga
8. Bonduca or the British Heroine: Oh! Lead me to some peaceful gloom
9. Rinaldo: Augelletti che cantate (
10. Attilio Regolo: Sprezza il furor del vento (world premiere recording)
11. The Indian Queen: Why should men quarrel?
12. Attilio Regolo: Par che di Giubilo (world premiere recording)
13. Susanna: Lead me, oh lead me to some cool retreat…Crystal streams in murmurs flowing
14. Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria: Illustratevi, o cieli
15. Giulio Cesare: Da tempeste il legno infranto
Il Pomo d’Oro
Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
Running Time: 79:12 mins
Find out more about Joyce DiDonato