Erato has announced the release of Schubert’s Winterreise.
The new release feature Joyce DiDonato in a piece that is traditionally performed by tenors or baritones. DiDonato joins a rare group of female singers including Lotte Lehmann, Elena Gerhardt, Christa Ludwig, and Brigitte Fassbaender who have placed their stamp on the piece.
For the new recording, DiDonato is joined by pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who suggested Schubert’s cycle to take on their recital tour together.
In a statement, DiDonato noted, “Perhaps one element of a true masterpiece is that it invites itself to be experienced in a new light.”
She added, “But what about her? The woman he loved and who, for whatever reason, disappointed him. Perhaps it’s my identification with Charlotte in Massenet’s opera ‘Werther’ that kept this question front and center in my mind. I’ve always wondered what happens to her when the curtain comes down [after Werther has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound] … What if the young man of Winterreise sent her his last journals before he parted? What if his final words arrived to her as a kind of suicide note? … And what if she reads the writings? Word for word. Over and over … ‘Ces lettres … ces lettres,’ Charlotte screams out in Werther … So what about the woman who spoke of love in the first song of Winterreise? This can also be her journey.”
DiDonato recorded the song cycle at New York’s Carnegie Hall in December 2019 with Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Erato will release the new recording on April 23, 2021.