January 11, 2023

Joyce DiDonato Explores Return to Garden of Eden

Joyce DiDonato

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to Princeton University Concerts on Wednesday, February 1 at 7:30 p.m. to present EDEN, a theatrical program exploring our individual connection to nature and its impact on our world through music spanning four centuries.

This special event will take place in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. The il Pomo d’Oro orchestra, conducted by Zefira Valova, and members of the local Princeton Girlchoir will join DiDonato in performance.

Directed by stage director Marie Lambert, EDEN is a staged musical experience that invites audiences back to the Garden of Eden. As DiDonato said in the liner notes of her 2022 Grammy Award-nominated album of the same name, her selection of songs “have no boundaries — like a wild garden,” and range from baroque masterpieces of the 17th century to the world-premiere recording of “The First Morning of the World” from Academy Award-winning composer Rachel Portman.

A focus on the beauty and awe of the natural world united the diverse repertoire, and her newly commissioned works confront climate change and call for environmental activism. “With each passing day,” DiDonato said, “I trust more and more in the perfect balance, astonishing mystery and guiding force of the natural world around us, how much Mother Nature has to teach us. EDEN is an invitation to return to our roots and to explore whether or not we are connecting as profoundly as we can to the pure essence of our being, to create a new EDEN from within and plant seeds of hope for the future.”

As part of the program’s community-centric core, audiences and students are encouraged to use their voices and creative projects to gain a deeper understanding of nature and their direct impact within the world. More than 800 children worldwide have performed during the EDEN tour. Princeton Girlchoir and il Pomo d’Oro both join her onstage for a performance, and for talkbacks after each performance.

As part of the EDEN Sustainability Challenge, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and DiDonato have also joined forces to provide native seeds for audience members to plant. With these sustainably-sourced seeds DiDonato poses a question to her audience: “In this time of upheaval, which seed will you plant today?”

Tickets are $15-$75. Visit puc.princeton.edu or call (609) 258-9220.