DiDonato: “Don’t dumb down opera”

Posted on: September 10, 2013

In Thursday’s (9/5) Telegraph (London), Rupert Christiansen interviews mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who speaks on a range of topics, including mentoring young singers and arts marketing. “I don’t do formal teaching, but I like to pass on whatever experience I have,” says DiDonato. “I think it’s important for students to have contact with people who are in the thick of it, not just those who have retired…. I’m painfully aware that even in the most prestigious conservatories like Juilliard only 10, 15 per cent of students will go on to make a career in opera, but they’re all looking at me and thinking—up there is someone living my dream…. I advise them not to attempt to turn the sound they make into something it isn’t—don’t try to be Bartoli or Pavarotti. I did that when I was 25 and it got me into trouble.” Regarding “certain marketing campaigns,” DiDonato says, “Stop apologising, stop trying to sell our music by dumbing it down. Sell opera on the basis that it is like nothing else on the planet, not on the basis that it’s superficially cool and hip—that is so phoney.”

Posted September 10, 2013