Bis: "Parto, parto", La Clemenza di Tito, Mozart
Joyce DiDonato ended her 10-day recording session with the Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon by providing us Lyonnais with a glimpse of this new album, whose highlight was, for me, her exquisite rendering of Gluck's da capo aria from La Clemenza di Tito, "Se mai senti sporarti sul volto". She was here able to fully express the desperation of Sesto on his way to death. The aria in itself is beautifully written to start with (the oboe is literally to die for), but her interpretation was really mesmorizing.
Of course she excelled with her collatura in pieces such as "Non più mesta" from La Cenerentola, or "Amour, viens rendre à mon âme" from Orphée et Eurydice (adapted by Berlioz) - she can, indeed, "braver le trépas" with strength and determination.
It was no surprise either that she ignited the audience with her wonderful spirit, and her obvious love and devotion to the music. She took a few minutes before the last aria to share with us the impressions she had of her stay - and it seems she has discover the hidden treasure of Lyon - its food. She praised Maestro Ono for his musicality and attention to details, and I quite agree with her.
The orchestra sounded quite improved and much more focused than before Ono arrived two years ago.
Sure there were some slight issues (the cellos and double bass were sometimes a bit off), but the musicality of the orchestra has grown tremendously, and they were able to convey nuances and a vitality that were indeed refreshing.
Poulenc's Sinfonietta was vibrant and exciting under the baton of Ono, but the overture of Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride was for me, the highlight of the orchestra. It started a bit heavy with the strings, but after the first few bars, the music really came to life and illuminated the whole opera house.
Overall a wonderful evening.