Back in the 18th or 19th century, trusty composers would frequently sit up nights crafting masterworks to show off the operatic stars of the day. Even if Handel or Rossini weren’t penning a love letter to Senesino or Colbran, they could often be found fine tuning existing arias to suit the vocal foibles of the latest change of cast. You might be right in thinking that tailor-made opera went out of fashion in the last 100 years as the composer became king and singers had to increasingly screw their voices to the sticking place to satisfy the musical demands of the latest musical dictator. So perhaps it’s apposite that when the great American composer Jake Heggie decided to create Great Scottfor the great American mezzo Joyce DiDonato, he came up with a sparkling modern-day opera buffa about a 21st-century diva getting to grips with a rediscovered bel cantogem.

Joyce DiDonato and the cast of  Great Scott. All photos by Karen Almond, Dallas Opera.

DiDonato has long been a Heggie fan, their relationship going back to 2002 when the then rising star singer gave the New York premiere of Dead Man Walking, Heggie...

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