The Award for Artist of the Year, the result of an online public vote, went to the dazzling American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, whose formidable list of fellow nominees included Plácido Domingo, Lang Lang and Antonio Pappano. (She also won the Recital category with her spectacular Rossini recital "Colbran, the Muse").
From the moment DiDonato appeared on the scene, it was clear that here was somebody different. Somebody who could potentially make it in a way that only Cecilia Bartoli and, perhaps, Anne Sofie von Otter have in recent times. And for that, “feistiness” – in the sense of ebullience, of being willing to push, of being able to throw herself entirely into a role with all guns blazing, of being able to project a unique personality at the same time as vivid characterisations – is not all, but it sure helps. As does being able to continue singing Rosina at Covent Garden from a wheelchair after breaking a leg (that recent performance was recently issued on DVD by Virgin Classics).
Watching that Rosina on film and listening to her recital CD “Colbran the Muse” tells you most of what you need to know about this marvellous artist. Pluck, theatricality, polish when required, a sense of awareness of what the voice can (and cannot) do. All of those ingredients are there. We’ll all enjoy them, it is to be hoped, for years to come.
Congratulations to our – to your – new Artist of the Year.