Main content

Joyce DiDonato

Joyce DiDonato, opera singer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Winner of two Grammy Awards, she is best known for her interpretations of Handel, Mozart and Rossini operas. Born into a Catholic family in Kansas, she was the second-youngest of seven children. Her love of music was awakened by watching her late father directing the local church choir. Her first ambition was to become a music teacher, but watching a televised performance of Don Giovanni during her third year at college ignited her interest in opera. After acceptance onto Houston Grand Opera's young artist programme, she overhauled her technique and went on to win second place in 1998's Operalia competition.

Her first big role came in 2002 singing Rosina in The Barber of Seville in Paris and she made her debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2005 at the age of 36. Since then her star has shone brightly and she has performed across the operatic spectrum, from contemporary works, such as Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking to Strauss and Handel.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

37 minutes

Last on

Fri 30 Sep 2016 09:00


Music Played

  • José Manuel Zapata


    • Tango (Mano A Mano).
    • Sony.
  • Benjamin Britten

    That Yonge Child

    Performer: American Boychoir.
    • A Ceremony of Carols.
    • Albemarle Records.
  • Yvonne Elliman

    I Don’t Know How to Love Him

    • Jesus Christ Superstar (Broadway Original Cast).
    • Decca.
  • Billy Joel

    Scenes From an Italian Restaurant

    • The Stranger.
    • CBS.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Overture to The Marriage of Figaro

    Orchestra: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Conductor: Yannick Nézet‐Séguin.
    • Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Randall Thompson


    Performer: Robert Shaw Chamber Singers. Conductor: Robert Shaw.
    • A Robert Shaw Christmas: Angels on High.
    • Telarc.
  • U2

    Pride (In The Name of Love)

    • Rattle and Hum.
    • Island.

    • Jake Heggie

      The Deepest Desire. Four Meditations On Love: Primary Colors

      Performer: Joyce DiDonato. Orchestra: The Kansas City Symphony. Conductor: Michael Stern.
      • Homecoming: Kansas City Symphony Presents Joyce DiDonato.
      • Kansas City Symphony.

    The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay


    Lavender scented oil


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Joyce DiDonato
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 25 Sep 2016 11:15
  • Fri 30 Sep 2016 09:00

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?