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Performance: Joyce DiDonato Sings Camille Claudel—Into the Fire

Sat, Jan 6 | 2:00–3:30



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The Waltz (Allioli), about 1900

Camille Claudel. Private collection. Photo courtesy of Musée Yves Brayer

Following a discussion with composer Jake Heggie and Camille Claudel curator Emerson Bowyer, Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato performs Heggie’s 35-minute song cycle Camille Claudel: Into the Fire with the Brentano Quartet.

Into the Fire dives deep into the romantic, rebellious world of artist Camille Claudel, transforming her powerfully emotive sculptures and tragic life into music.

Joyce DiDonato appears courtesy of Warner Classics.

Generously supported by the Carol Given Winston Fund and the Green Research Fund.

Lead support for Camille Claudel is provided by an anonymous donor.

Major funding is provided by the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation, an anonymous donor, Amy and Paul Carbone,
Marion A. Cameron-Gray, Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, Barbara and James MacGinnitie, Monika A. McLennan, Robin and Sandy Stuart, and Diane M. Tkach and James F. Freundt.

Members of the Luminary Trust provide annual leadership support for the museum’s operations, including exhibition development, conservation and collection care, and educational programming. The Luminary Trust includes an anonymous donor, Karen Gray-Krehbiel and John Krehbiel, Jr., Kenneth C. Griffin, the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris, Josef and Margot Lakonishok, Robert M. and Diane v.S. Levy, Ann and Samuel M. Mencoff, Sylvia Neil and Dan Fischel, Cari and Michael J. Sacks, and the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation

About the Performers

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Joyce DiDonato

Multi-Grammy Award winner and 2018 Olivier Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, Kansas-born Joyce DiDonato entrances audiences across the globe, and has been proclaimed “perhaps the most potent female singer of her generation” by The New Yorker. With a voice “nothing less than 24-carat gold” according to The Times, Joyce has towered to the top of the industry as a performer, a producer, and a fierce advocate for the arts. With a repertoire spanning over four centuries, a varied and highly acclaimed discography, and industry-leading projects, her artistry has defined what it is to be a singer in the 21st century. 

Joyce begins her ambitious 2023-24 season by opening The Metropolitan Opera’s season performing her signature role of Sister Helen in a new production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, where she will return later in the season to revive her critically acclaimed “Virginia Woolf” in Kevin Puts’ The Hours. This season also sees Joyce touring Dido & Aeneas with Il Pomo d’Oro, and further tours of EDEN and the Grammy Award-winning SONGPLAY in Asia, South America, and Europe. In concert Joyce appears with her hometown Kansas City Symphony Orchestra for a series of subscription concerts, as well as performances in Istanbul, Strasbourg, and Paris. Joyce also performs in recital at Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Wiener Musikverein and Carnegie Hall. 

Recent highlights include giving the world premiere of Tod Machover’s Overstory Overture in the role of Patricia Westertord at Alice Tully Hall in New York and Seoul Arts Center in South Korea and an in-depth residency at Musikkollegium Winterthur. Joyce’s groundbreaking EDEN Tour has had further success with recent tours in Europe and North America. In June 2022, Joyce joined the Metropolitan Orchestra for a tour that included the orchestra’s first visit to the UK in over 20 years, with performances at The Barbican, Philharmonie de Paris and Festpielhaus Baden-Baden. Her performance was “the embodiment of musical perfection”, according to the Wochenglatt Reporter. 

In opera, Joyce’s recent roles include Agrippina at the Metropolitan Opera and in a new production at the Royal Opera House, Didon in Les Troyens at the Wiener Staatsoper; Sesto in Cendrillon and Adalgisa in Norma at the Metropolitan Opera; Agrippina in concert with Il Pomo d’Oro under Maxim Emelyanchev; Sister Helen in Dead Man Walking at the Teatro Real Madrid and London’s Barbican Centre; Semiramide at the Bavarian State Opera and Royal Opera House, and Charlotte in Werther at the Royal Opera House. 

Much in demand on the concert and recital circuit, Joyce has held residencies at Carnegie Hall and at London’s Barbican Centre, toured extensively in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia and appeared as guest soloist at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. Other concert highlights include the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the Accademia Santa Cecilia Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra USA under Sir Antonio Pappano. 

An exclusive recording artist with Warner Classics/Erato, Joyce’s expansive discography includes the highly celebrated Les Troyens (winning Gramophone’s coveted Recording of the Year) and Handel’s Agrippina (Gramophone’s Opera Recording of the Year). Joyce’s other albums include her singular EDEN that has toured to nearly 40 cities globally, the acclaimed Winterreise with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Grammy Award winning Songplay, In War & Peace, the 2017 Best Recital Gramophone Award, Stella di Napoli, Grammy-Award-winning Diva Divo and Drama Queens. Other honours include the Gramophone Artist and Recital of the Year awards, as well as an inaugural inductee into the Gramophone Hall of Fame. 

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The Brentano Quartet

Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. “Passionate, uninhibited and spellbinding,” raves the London Independent; the New York Times extols its “luxuriously warm sound [and] yearning lyricism.”

Within a few years of its formation, the Quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and was also honored in the U.K. with the Royal Philharmonic Award for Most Outstanding Debut.

Since then, the Quartet has concertized widely, performing in the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington; the

Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House.

In addition to performing the entire two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet maintains a strong interest in contemporary music , and has commissioned many new works.

Their latest project, a monodrama for quartet and voice called “Dido Reimagined,” was composed by Pulitzer - winning composer Melinda Wagner and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, and premiered in spring 2022 with soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Other recent commissions include the composers Matthew Aucoin, Lei Liang, Vijay Iyer, James Macmillan, and a cello quintet by Steven Mackey ( performed with Wilhelmina Smith, cello.)

The Brentano Quartet has worked closely with other important composers of our time, among them Elliot Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág.

They have also been privileged to collaborate with such artists as soprano Jessye Norman , mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and pianists Richard Goode, Jonathan Biss, and Mitsuko Uchida. The Quartet has recorded works by Mozart and Schubert for Azica Records, and all of Beethoven’s late Quartets for the Aeon label.

In 2012, they provided the central music (Beethoven Opus 131) for the critically-acclaimed independent film A Late Quartet.

Since 2014, the Brentano Quartet has served as Artists -in-Residence at the Yale School of Music.

They were formerly the Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University, and were twice invited to be the collaborative ensemble for the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

The Quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”, the intended recipient of his famous love confession.

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Jake Heggie

American composer Jake Heggie is best known for Dead Man Walking (2000), the most widely performed new opera of the last 20 years, with a libretto by Terrence McNally, and his critically acclaimed operas Moby-Dick (2010), Three Decembers (2008), and It’s a Wonderful Life (2016), all with libretti by Gene Scheer. In addition to 10 full-length operas and numerous one-acts, Heggie has composed more than 300 art songs, as well as concerti, chamber music, choral, and orchestral works. His compositions have been performed on five continents, and he regularly collaborates with some of the world’s most beloved artists as both composer and pianist. 

Heggie actively seeks out projects that invite a wide range of perspectives and possibilities. A bold new Ivo van Hove production of Dead Man Walking opens the Metropolitan Opera’s 23/24 season in New York City, starring Joyce DiDonato, Ryan McKinny, and Susan Graham, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium. Based on the iconic memoir by Sister Helen Prejean, this deeply human story of redemption is to be simulcast in cinemas in more than 50 countries worldwide. Heggie’s opera Intelligence explores the true story of two women who infiltrated the Confederate White House during the American Civil War. Created with Jawole Zollar and Gene Scheer, this work receives its world premiere on opening night of Houston Grand Opera’s season, conducted by Kwamé Ryan and starring Jamie Barton, Janai Brugger, J’Nai Bridges, and Urban Bush Women. Elsewhere, Before It All Goes Dark, a one-act opera commissioned by Music of Remembrance and based on a story originally reported by Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune, will premiere in Seattle and tour to Chicago and San Francisco, while The Elements: Fire, Heggie’s new commission for violinist Joshua Bell, premieres at Germany’s Elbphilharmonie and tours to major stages in New York, Seattle, Chicago, and Hong Kong.

Photo credit: James Niebuhr

Please note that this is an in-person event that takes place at the museum. In accordance with state and City of Chicago guidelines, visitors to the museum are no longer required to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination, though anyone who would like to wear a mask is encouraged to do so. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 in the week before your visit, we ask that you stay home. We appreciate your help in keeping the museum a healthy and safe place for our staff and visitors. Learn more about our visiting policies.

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Closed captioning will be available for this program. For questions related to accessibility accommodations, please email


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