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Celebrity mezzo Joyce DiDonato goes more Baroque’n’Roll in her film of In War & Peace, a heartfelt examination of the motives and results of both states through a series of arias. DiDonato was motivated by the Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris, and this concert (recorded live in Barcelona in June last year) was not long after the Manchester terrorist atrocity, so her emotions feel obviously raw. She has toured this concert production and released the CD, so this is the chance to see what it looked like if you weren’t there. I must admit that I preferred to use my imagination and just hear the music: the production seems fussy, the male dancer irritating, and the Westwood couture frocks, lurex and organza, make a lot of money look very shiny. All that, though, is a matter of personal taste, so I wouldn’t want to deter anyone from investigating further. DiDonato sings with poise and elegance, a few pitchy notes above the stave notwithstanding; her sorrow and passion are clear to see and appreciate – it is an incredibly giving performance. Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev showcases his singer with artfully taut tempi and sprung rhythms.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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