Album: Joyce DiDonato, Diva Divo (Virgin Classics)

For Joyce DiDonato, the restrictions of her mezzo-soprano range are more than adequately compensated for by the opportunity to play a wider range of characters, "from ardent young men to demented, murderous wives".

Hence the idea of this collection, which draws together paired arias of male and female roles from the same story. Thus is Sesto's poised farewell to his lover Vitellia, from Gluck's La Clemenza di Tito, followed by the remorseful Vitellia's impassioned preparation for suicide, from Mozart's take on the same tale. Likewise, the youthful Siebel's declaration of love for Marguerite, from Gounod's Faust, receives an anachronistic response from Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust. Clever stuff.

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