An evening of hope and challenge with Joyce DiDonato

The extraordinary power of music to create hope and support change inspired the audience at the Pure Land Series at China Exchange on Nov 21,2016.

The event took its theme from Grammy award-winning opera star Joyce DiDonato’s latest project, a CD and tour entitled In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music.

The album – a programme of baroque arias that examine the nature of conflict and reconciliation collated in response to last year’s Paris terrorist attacks – has received warm reviews, as did a “sensuous and stark” performance at the Barbican the night after the Pure Land Series event.

DiDonato’s aim, as she discussed with panel members Matt Peacock MBE, Artistic Director of the charity Streetwise Opera, and Anis Barnat, founder of El Sistema Greece, is to expand the role of music as a catalyst for social change.

During the event, the audience were fascinated to hear DiDonato talking about her work in the maximum-security prison Sing Sing with a programme that teaches classical composition to inmates. As she explained: “Music instils clarity and dignity. I have a responsibility to pass that on.”

Audience member Dame Vivienne Westwood ended the Q and A with a profound and powerful plea for the arts. The audience were then privileged to hear DiDonato perform Handel’s ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’, accompanied by a string chamber orchestra.

The Pure Land Series at China Exchange is curated by Bruno Wang. The series invites inspirational speakers and like-minded people to share the vision of a world grounded in compassion, empowerment, spirituality and creativity.

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