Wichita State University alumna Joyce DiDonato was honored at the 2012 Grammy Awards with a Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Solo Album for her latest album “Diva Divo.” She is also the first classical vocalist to be asked to perform live at the Grammys, in its Pre-Televised Ceremony on Feb. 12.
DiDonato, a mezzo-soprano, has soared to international prominence in operas by Rossini, Handel and Mozart, and in high-profile world premieres. Her signature parts include Rossini’s La cenerentola and Il barbiere di Siviglia – her Rosina at the Metropolitan Opera won acclaim in New York and on cinema screens all over the world. The London Sunday Times called her “the best Rosina around.”
Born and educated in Kansas, DiDonato graduated from Wichita State’s opera program in 1992 and was accepted at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts. After graduate studies there, she became a member of the young artist programs of the San Francisco, Houston Grand and Santa Fe Opera companies.
DiDonato soon developed a growing and enthusiastic worldwide following in opera, concert and recital. She has appeared on some of the world’s best opera stages and in recital halls, and with world-class philharmonic, orchestral and symphonic organizations. Her growing discography has earned accolades far and wide.
Loyal to Wichita State
Other honors have included the Beverly Sills Award from the Metropolitan Opera, Echo Klassics 2010 Female Singer of the Year, the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2005 Singer of the Year, the Richard Tucker Award, given to a single American singer annually, second place in Placido Domingo’s Operalia, and prizes from the George London Foundation, the ARIA Award Foundation and the Sullivan Foundation.
Even with busy touring and recording schedules, DiDonato has remained loyal to home and her Kansas alma mater. She remains in touch with Wichita State faculty and, in 2003, performed for WSU’s College of Fine Arts Connoisseur Series with professor Frances Shelly accompanying on flute. That performance was a prelude to an international tour for DiDonato and Shelly.
In spring 2009, DiDonato brought her “Rosina” to Wichita Grand Opera’s performance of “The Barber of Seville.”