Diva Joyce quits agent

Diva Joyce quits agent


norman lebrecht

December 02, 2014

The story so far: Girl from Kansas gets turned down by 10 New York agents, one after another.

She’s also not getting roles at opera auditions.

Then a young London guy, Simon Goldstone, approaches her and she signs on his dotted line. The career takes off. Like a rocket.

Simon quits crumbling IMG Artists and Joyce DiDonato waltzes off with him devotedly to Intermusica. For 16 years, Joyce and Simon were indivisible. This is them in July this year.

joyce didonato simon goldstone

Sadly, it’s over. We hear Joyce has just signed for London agency AskonasHolt, specifically with its silky chief executive Donagh Collins, who has pledged to build a team around her to attend to the many needs of a diva career.

Things end, life goes on. Still, the Simon-Joyce story was a fairytale in a wicked old world and it’s sad to see it end.

UPDATE:  AskonasHolt has just posted the coup on their website.



  • Anonymous says:

    I can never understand why artists do this. They go from a single, dedicated person who has served them well for a very long time, and – usually as the result of a petty disagreement – hightail it off to the flashiest act they can find. And at what point is it even remotely viable for any agent to build a team around an artist, even one as prominent as Joyce DiDonato? The figures just don’t add up.

    • JAMA11 says:

      You can never understand it because you aren’t living their lives or having their experiences. Who knows why this happened; who knows to what extent it may have been mutual, or agonized over, or caused by a major conflict vs a petty disagreement. I’m in no place to speculate. All I know is, this agent had 16 very lucrative years with DiDonato.

      • Anonymous says:

        Many thanks for your somewhat facetious response. Had you read my post properly, it might not have been necessary for you to have been so rude. You could also say that DiDonato had 16 very lucrative with her agent…

        • JAMA11 says:

          If you can specify what part of my reply seemed facetious–let alone rude–to you, please do. I myself find comments whose substance is “why didn’t you agree with/flatter me” to be rather rude, to say nothing of comments whose substance is “you didn’t agree with/flatter me, you must therefore be joking.”

          • Anonymous says:

            Your comment was facetious in that it took what was a comment about the need for artists who have thrived under a very personal form of management to look for something similar when changing agents, for a judgement specifically of Joyce DiDonato. Your post was rude (and patronising) not because you disagreed with me (you’d completely misunderstood my post), but because you assumed I would not have had any experience of this kind of situation. I have worked prominently in artist management for most of my professional life. Both my parents were opera singers. So, actually, I have rather a good knowledge of this kind of situation.

            Some would say that, in this increasingly fraught financial climate, with overheads being the main bar to running a successful and creative organisation, the return of personal management, along the lines of that practised by Sandor Golinsky, is what would work best for most singers; but singers are continually seduced by the mention of specially dedicated teams (which are never financially viable). Think of it this way, perhaps: the agent who is capable of having a honest, open and caring professional relationship with a singer is rather more likely to be able to maintain a similar type of relationship with a Casting Director. The agent who emails their artist three times a month, is rather more likely to echo such practices with opera houses.

  • Nick says:

    Let’s remember the silky chiefs of high-and-mighty agencies don’t always have it their own way. This blog has revealed the stream of departures of star names from IMG Artists. Askonas Holt is not immune. With prompting from two of their major clients, Abbado and Rattle, they signed the almost unknown Dudamel and assigned Mark Newbanks to look after him. No sooner had he become a major household name and taken over as MD at the LA Phil than both he and Newbanks upped sticks to join what is now International Classical Artists – although it has to be admitted in this case Newbanks moved first and was followed by Dudamel. Within months both had then left Stephen Wright’s ICA for Newbanks newly formed agency, Fidelio Management.

    This is not the same as DiDonato decamping to Askonas Holt since Dudamel was clearly following the man he most identified as having helped develop his career. But Dudamel’s defections will have lost Askonas Holt which nurtured him and ICA which hoped to cash in on him a massive amount of future commissions. One wonders how long the DiDonato/Askonas Holt love fest will continue!

  • Melisande says:

    Askonas Holt works for Joyce DiDonato on a General Management basis, in association with Simon Millward, Director Albion Media.
    This sentence might make the new ‘coup’ clear. I assume that Ms. DiDonato and Mr. Goldstone, her manager for years, have thought it over in a most friendly way.

  • Tony Kaye says:

    Having run Kaye Artists Management for 17 years (retiring in 1994) can I just say that the ebb and flow of artists is pretty well par for the course. Perhaps the fact that so much is being made of this is because it is a truly huge artist. But don’t forget as Michael Emerson once said, “They leave you, which hurts and the join you too which is great but hurts someone else!” As mentioned above you can read that when Simon Goldstone changed management company’s, some artists went with him, no doubt causing IMG quite some pain in the process. The bottom line always is and always will be same. Either the management has lost faith in the artist or the artist has lost faith in the manager. It does cut both ways. I am sure that Joyce di Donato made what must have been a difficult choice believing it to be in her own best interests and therefore in the interests of serving her public (one hopes).