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Digital Residency: Joyce DiDonato

Through a new web series, Sing For Today, Joyce DiDonato uses song as a lens through which to process and navigate the human experience in relation to current events and global concerns in real-time.

Episode 3: “Danny Boy” & a Memorial Day Reflection

In a special Memorial Day episode of Sing For Today, Joyce performs a heartfelt arrangement of “Danny Boy” and reflects on grief, loss, and love in conversation with Broadway producer Tom Kirdahy, in memory of his late husband, playwright Terrence McNally.

TOM KIRDAHY is an American Tony and Olivier Award-winning theatrical producer, lawyer, and activist whose projects have spanned Broadway, Off-Broadway, the West End, and national and international tours. He most recently produced the Broadway production of the epic two-part play The Inheritance and the musical Hadestown. As an attorney, he spent nearly two decades providing free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS and served for many years on the Executive Committee of the NYC LGBT Center. His husband, Terrence McNally, died of complications from COVID early in the pandemic.

TERRENCE MCNALLY (1938-2020) had a celebrated career as a playwright, librettist, and screenwriter. He won Tony Awards for Best Play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as well as Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. He also received the 2019 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the highest recognition of artistic merit in the United States. A devoted opera fan, he wrote the libretto for Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, as well as several plays with opera themes, including Master Class, Golden Age, and The Lisbon Traviata.

Music Video feat. Joyce DiDonato & Bernardo Rambeaud

Past Episodes

Episode 1: “This Land Is Your Land”

Joyce taps into the energy of early voter lines leading up to Election Day, framing Woody Guthrie’s classic folk song in conversation with Hamilton producer and University of Michigan alumnus Jeffrey Seller, as well as student members of the Poll Hero Project.

Music Video feat. Joyce DiDonato and Alex Garrobé

Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
WGP/TRO-© Copyright 1956, 1958, 1970, 1972, and 1995 (copyrights renewed) Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. & Ludlow Music, Inc., New York, NY
administered by Ludlow Music, Inc.
Additional words by Joyce DiDonato
Used by Permission
Artists and Organizations in this Episode:

Alex Garrobé
Alex Garrobé is currently professor of guitar and chamber music at the Catalan Music College. He has performed in more than 40 countries in some of the most prestigious concert halls, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Radio France Auditorium in Paris, the Auditorio Nacional, Madrid, the Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona, and the Lutosławski Auditorium in Warsaw. He has made recordings for the Harmonia Mundi, Opera Tres and Columna Musica labels. His many collaborations as a soloist with orchestra include the premieres of Mare Nostrum Concerto by Salvador Brotons, …di un soffio d’aura by Agustin Charles and Concierto de Petrer by Simone Iannarelli, among others.
Jeffrey Seller
Jeffrey Seller is the winner of four Tony Awards for Best Musical: Rent (1996), Avenue Q (2004), In the Heights (2008) and Hamilton (2016). He has also produced and/or developed De La Guarda (1998), Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party (2000), Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème (2002), High Fidelity (2006), the Broadway revival of West Side Story (2009) and Sting’s The Last Ship (2014), among others. Seller, along with former business partner Kevin McCollum, created the first-ever Broadway lottery for Rent, which for over 20 years has been a popular way to see Broadway shows (often in the first two rows) at an affordable price. He is the only producer to have produced two Pulitzer Prize-winning musicals, for Rent and Hamilton. Along with opening multiple Hamilton companies across North America and London, Jeffrey was the executive producer of the NBC drama Rise and developed a new musical based on the life and music of Cher. Jeffrey grew up in Oak Park, Michigan and is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan.
Poll Hero Project
The Poll Hero Project is recruiting thousands of college and high school students to be paid poll workers for the 2020 election. The initiative was founded by a group of Princeton University students (including Kai Tsurumaki, featured in this video), Denver East High School students, and a University of Chicago Booth School of Business graduate, all of whom care deeply about democracy and non-partisanship. For more information, visit


Episode 2: “Silent Night”

“My hope is that in silence, we can find peace. And in that peace, we might be able to ignite some light and hope. Wishing you a deep sense of peace as we go into the New Year.” —JoyceDiDonato

Enjoy this very special arrangement of “Silent Night” performed by Joyce DiDonato and Àlex Garrobé.

About the Residency

The primary focus of this residency features Joyce DiDonato singing and in dialogue with people from a variety of different backgrounds, casting a spotlight on the healing power of calling on great art from the past centuries to pass through challenging events of the present day. Expected themes such as grief, community, unity, patriotism, and nature will factor in as topics unveiling themselves in our current headlines.

Sing For Today is co-produced by UMS and Princeton University Concerts.

Residency Support

Supporting Sponsors
Julia Darlow and John O’Meara
Anne and Paul Glendon
Norman and Debbie Herbert

Patron Sponsors
Stephen and Rosamund Forrest
Beverley and Gerson Geltner
Susan and Richard Gutow
James and Nancy Stanley

Funded in part by
UMS Sustaining Directors

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

About the Artist

A multiple Grammy-winner, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is a transformative presence in the arts whose healing approach to music has taken her beyond the world’s great opera stages to educational institutions, refugee camps, and maximum-security prisons. She has appeared on UMS concerts three times in the past several years, including in the lead role in Handel’s Ariodante, with pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Schubert’s Winterreise, and again with Nézet-Séguin and his Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal in November 2019. She is an exclusive recording artist with Erato-Warner Classics, which is proud to be associated with this innovative project.

Visit Joyce’s website and follow her on:


Listen to Joyce’s recordings on:

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Explore More

Meet the full Digital Artist Residency cohort:

Wendell Pierce | Tarek Yamani & Spektral Quartet | Tunde Olaniran | Cleo Parker Robinson | Brian Lobel & Friends | Joyce DiDonato