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Joyce DiDonato finds a baroque blue note on 'Songplay'

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Interview with KUAF's Katy Henriksen

For Joyce DiDonato, the divide between the heralded sounds of the Baroque and the popularity of the Great American songbook is really a false one. Her new release "Songplay," which includes arias from Vivaldi and Giordani alongside popular jazz standards from the likes of Rogers & Hart,  is a testament to this. "I've always talked about how essentially it's like jazz," she says, discussing Baroque continuo arias that weren't orchestrated and required a lot of interpretation. "The whole idea is that we're all improvising along the way."

Indeed many of the great Baroque conductors she works with constantly ask for more blue in the note, a push more typically associated with jazz. "It feels incredibly contemporary, incredibly modern," she adds. "The vocal line can feel so achingly in this moment right now. It's confirmed for me how modern the old music is." DiDonato recieved expert help in "Songplay" by assembling an all-star ensemble of musicians as collaborators, with arrangements from pianist Craig Terry.

At the core of it all DiDonato is on a mission with every note.

"I want people to feel things when they hear a piece of music," she says. "I want it to really go straight to their heart and crack it open in ways that we don't really allow ourselves in everyday life."

Listen to the full conversation by CLICKING HERE