Since prison reform, the plight of refugees, the need for music education for all, until In War and Peace, that defines the industry, opera superstar Joyce DiDonato has long been an artist who has dedicated herself to creating and initiating projects that challenge and move audiences, crossing the boundaries of the concert hall.
EDEN is DiDonato's latest multifaceted initiative, to which he will devote much of his time over the next four years, joining music, theater and education to address questions about our individual connection to nature. Composed of a tour for more than 45 dates on the five continents between 2022-24, an album for Erato, an innovative educational program and multiple associated actions, the impact and legacy of EDEN, it is expected to have a great reach in time and space.
The passion and driving force behind EDEN for Didonato, is that a collective return to the best of ourselves is needed to, not only address our current climate crisis, but also the crisis of the heart. By examining our relationship with the natural world and our unique place within it, EDEN invites the listener to explore and search for answers about belonging, purpose and healing.
“Every day that passes”, writes DiDonato, “I trust more and more in the perfect balance, the amazing mystery and force that governs the natural world around us, How much does Mother Nature have to teach us?. EDEN is an invitation to return to our roots and to explore if we are connecting as deeply as we can with the pure essence of our being., to create a new EDEN from within and plant seeds of hope for the future”.
Together with his orchestral partners, with whom it maintains a long and prosperous relationship, Tomato and director Maxim Emelyanychev, will collaborate with Didonato the stage director Mary Lambert and the composer, Oscar winner, Rachel Portman, combining music from different genres with a stage designed to connect the audience to the very heart of the natural world around us.
DiDonato describes how, In difficult times, contact with nature along with her musical life makes her feel connected, in his own words: “feeling that I am an integral part of something bigger. A seed awakens within me. This is precisely when I seek the solace and connection of music: with each passing day I trust more and more in the perfect balance, the amazing mystery and the guiding force of the musical world. both nature, as the music show us the way, a path dictated by harmony and balance. Will we answer the call?”
The album EDEN is released on 25 February 2022 through ERATO and the international tour starts 2 March 2022 in brussels. The repertoire of both is very diverse, Building on the timeless theme of nature that has captivated composers throughout the centuries with each recording exploring an aspect of humanity's relationship with nature and, in the words of DiDonato, will have no borders, it will be like a wild garden”.
From the 17th century to the 21st century, and encompassing composers like Handel, Gluck, Wagner, Mahler, Ives, Copland and Oscar winner Rachel Portman, who has been commissioned by DiDonato to write a new work especially for EDEN, the program is at the heart of this visionary project.
Crossing various musical genres, EDEN opens with two pieces that pose questions, on the 1908: the enigmatic unanswered question (The Unanswered Question) by charles ives, in which DiDonato sings verses normally assigned to a trumpet, and a new commission from the Oscar-winning British composer, Rachel Portman. MAKER OF MONEY, Portman has been associated with the American poet and writer Gene Scheer to compose The First Morning of the World (The first morning of the world). Scheer, admired for his collaborations with such prominent composers as Jake Heggie (including song cycle Camille Claudel: Into the fire, written for DiDonato and released on Erato in 2018) recognize, through its evocative text, that this is a moment full of questions. wondering about “the sounds and songs of the world's first morning”.
An oratorio aria by Josef Mysliveček is taken from a recital of the story of Adam and Eve, as the Angel of Justice issues a stern and bitter warning to his people. From the first part of the 18th century, Handel is represented by his famous “Long“, an impressive ode to the refreshing shade of a plane tree. The early glories of Italian opera are evoked in an aria from Cavalli's opera of gods and humans, La Calisto. His story begins in a parched and scorched landscape, but it ends with Calisto, his heroine, ascending to the stars.
EDEN also represents a new model that will help redefine the industry, setting a new standard for the impact artists can make with the power of their performances. By engaging with multiple international partners, EDEN ensures that their education and community work are essential for the project, and may his legacy be real and lasting.
As ambassador of International Teaching Artists Collaborative (ITAC)’s, DiDonato has been working with them on the design and delivery of interdisciplinary educational and community programs of a musical nature for children's choirs and school groups around the world., under the experience of Eric Booth, ITAC co-founder. The vision is to employ local Teaching Artists in each city on the tour to amplify the EDEN experiences of young people and others in order to use their voices to gain a deeper understanding of nature and its direct impact on the world.. Local children's choirs will also have the opportunity to perform on stage with DiDonato at EDEN concerts..
Botanic Gardens Conservation International and DiDonato have created The EDEN Sustainability Challenge that sets simple goals that, demonstrably, bring a more sustainable lifestyle. BGCI is providing native seeds for audience members to plant, providing a unique opportunity for the classical music community to literally and collectively plant a new “EDEN” Worldwide, actively participating in the regeneration, consciousness and creation.