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Watch: Janet Baker and Joyce DiDonato discuss their stellar careers

Two of opera's greatest stars share their thoughts on the art form and how it has evolved over the past 60 years, as well as what it needs to do to survive.

By Hayley Bartley (Former Content Producer (Learning))

22 June 2016 at 5.12pm | 1 Comment

Two of opera's greatest mezzo-sopranos Janet Baker and Joyce DiDonato came together in front of a live audience for an exclusive ROH Insights event at the Royal Opera House on 21 June 2016, now available to watch online.

In this film, Janet and Joyce discuss their unforgettable opera careers, including repertory they have shared and their opinions on how the art form has evolved over recent years.

'This is a very different world from when you were singing,' Joyce says. 'It's such quick access and people can see it without much investment.'

'Music is now, it's a moment of now,' says Janet about the importance of experiencing live opera. Though she accepts there is a place for recording productions, she believes 'there is no substitute' and that it 'deprives an audience of the deepest experience they can have.'

For both Janet and Joyce, the profession of an opera singer comes with great responsibility, something Janet likens to a glass:

'You look through it at something else, either the audience or at the responsibility you have to the composer and the librettist. You've got to keep the glass clean. You've got to be able to see out to that purpose which is bigger than you are. And you've also got to allow people to look in. There is a sense of nakedness really', she explains.

Though Janet admits that singers can't always be perfect:

'We can't keep the glass clean all the time. Nothing is achieved without tremendous work. Anything less than the hardest work we can do isn't good enough for the composer or the poet, and it isn't good enough for the audience.'

Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House YouTube channel:

Joyce DiDonato is currently performing in The Royal Opera's Werther. Tickets are still available.

The production will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on 27 June 2016. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is generously sponsored by BB Energy and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, The Taylor Family Foundation, Susan and John Singer, Spindrift Al Swaidi and the Maestro’s Circle.

By Hayley Bartley (Former Content Producer (Learning))

22 June 2016 at 5.12pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Benoît Jacquot, In conversation, interview, Janet Baker, Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano, Production, singer, The Royal Opera, tips, werther

This article has 1 comment

  1. Sandrina Carosso responded on 30 June 2016 at 10:25am Reply

    How wonderful. Two fabulous beautiful women in every sense of the world.

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