|Year of Birth:||1969|
Joyce DiDonato (née Flaherty; born February 13, 1969) is an American operatic lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano notable for her interpretations of the works of Handel, Mozart, and Rossini.
She has performed with many of the world's leading opera companies and orchestras, and in 2012 and 2016 won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo.
Joyce Flaherty was born in Prairie Village, Kansas in 1969, the sixth of seven children in an Irish-American family. Her father, Donald, was a self-employed architect who designed houses in the area. One of her sisters, Mrs. Amy Hetherington, was a music teacher at St. Ann Catholic School, which Joyce and her siblings attended. She later went to Bishop Miege High School where she sang in musicals. She entered Wichita State University (WSU) in 1988 to study vocal music education. She was initially more interested in teaching high school vocal music and musical theatre; she did not become interested in opera until she saw a PBS televised broadcast of Don Giovanni, and then, in her junior year, when she was cast in a school production of Die Fledermaus.
After graduating from WSU in spring 1992, DiDonato decided to pursue graduate studies in vocal performance at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Following her studies in Philadelphia, she was accepted in the Santa Fe Opera's Apprentice Singer program for the summer 1995 festival season, where she appeared in several minor roles and understudied for larger parts in such operas as Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Richard Strauss' Salome, Kálmán's Gräfin Mariza and the 1994 world premiere of David Lang's Modern Painters. She was honored as one of several Outstanding Apprentice Artists by the Santa Fe Opera that year.