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Album: Joyce DiDonato, Rossini: Colbran, The Muse (Virgin Classics)

If Angela Gheorghiu is the pre-eminent Puccini interpreter of her era, then Joyce DiDonato surely lays confident claim to the equivalent position regarding Rossini, a status cemented in unorthodox manner this year when, despite breaking her leg on the opening night, she completed the five-night run in The Barber Of Seville at Covent Garden.

Here she focuses on arias inspired and premiered by Isabella Colbran, Rossini's wife and the supreme diva of her era. It's a majestic display from first to last, DiDonato balancing precision and emotion whether she's delivering the subtle "Giusto ciel, in tal periglio" from Maometto II, or negotiating the high, almost laughing line of "Fra il padre, e fra l'amante" from La Donna Del Iago, which she's scheduled to bring to London soon.

Download this Fra il padre, e fra l'amante, Giusto ciel, in tal periglio, Deh, calma, o ciel