"Drama Queens" celebrates the Baroque opera heroines that refuse to emote quietly. DiDonato says that this CD is an opportunity to "work out the bulk of (her) inner demons courtesy of the larger-than-life drama queens we encounter on the stage - those divine ladies who weep and love, moan and avenge more grandly and stylishly than in any other art form." Her summary rings true; the women she portrays experience catharsis through histrionical tidal waves of emotion.
Consequently, there are no peaceful or quaint arias included in this compilation. DiDonato sings the Queens half-crazed with sorrow, ready to tear Hell apart with her fervor, or spastically jubilant. Each aria is extremely well sung. DiDonato's rolled "R's" are often overindulgent and her trills are appropriately spastic as her drama queens. Above all, DiDonato's voice shimmers in ways that are both celestial ("Geloso, sospetto") and stirring ("Ma quando tornerai").
This CD includes Italian opera arias by Baroque composers Orlandini, Porta, Handel, Keiser, Hasse, Cesti, Monteverdi, and Giacomelli. The booklet has translations in French, English and German. It also includes an introduction by Alan Curtis and a foreword by DiDonato. The ensemble between conductor and singer is impressive. They work together to create beautiful music. Her voice blends seamlessly with the orchestra. They're an enigmatic pair and when the CD plays, it sounds as though they trapped a live performance which is released like a butterfly into the air.
EMI Records/Virgin Classics
Il Comlesso Barroco
Alan Curtis, Conductor