Danielle de Niese
Danielle de Niese has been hailed as “opera’s coolest soprano” by New York Times Magazine and “not just a superb performer, but a phenomenal one” by Opera News. A multi-faceted artist, de Niese has gained wide recognition for her superb stagecraft, assured singing and her ability to communicate on every level. She regularly appears on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages and is a prolific recording artist, TV personality and philanthropist.
Born in Australia to parents of Sri Lankan and Dutch heritage, de Niese became at the age of eighteen the youngest ever singer to enter the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. One year later she made her Metropolitan Opera debut under James Levine, as Barbarina in Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed new production of Mozart Le nozze di Figaro. On the strength of her performance, de Niese went on to make major debuts at the Opéra National de Paris, Saito Kinen Festival and Netherlands Opera. In 2005 de Niese made her Glyndebourne Festival debut as Cleopatra in David McVicar’s production of Handel Cleopatra, and was catapulted to international fame. She has since reprised the role in the 2009 Glyndebourne revival, and in 2013 at the Metropolitan Opera, always to critical praise.
Recent operatic engagements include the title role in Monteverdi L’incoronazione di Poppea for Teatro Real Madrid, Ariel in The Enchanted Island and Despina in Mozart Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Handel Semele at the Theâtre des Champs-Elysees, Adina L’elisir d’amore at the Glyndebourne festival, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro for San Francisco Opera, and the title role in Handel Rodelinda under Nicholas Harnoncourt at Theater an der Wien. Other important debuts have included the title role in La Calisto with Ivor Bolton for the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Poppea in Handel Agrippina for Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Norina Don Pasquale for Glyndebourne (also released on DVD by Opus Arte.)
Last season’s highlights included a critically acclaimed run in the title role of Handel Partenope in Christopher Alden’s new production at San Francisco Opera, the Ravel double bill at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, in which de Niese played both lead roles: Concepción in L’heure espagnole and the young boy in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, and Susanna in Richard Eyre’s new production of Mozart Le nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera. In concert, de Niese appeared at the inaugural concert of the new Philharmonie de Paris with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.
She begins the 2015/16 season with a double header for the BBC Proms, singing at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall opposite Jonas Kaufmann, broadcast worldwide, and at Proms in the Park in Hyde Park. Her operatic engagements include the world premiere of Jimmy López’s Bel Canto at Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and a return to Theater an der Wien to sing Poppea in Robert Carsen’s new production of Handel Agrippina, under Thomas Hengelbrock, and the new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia as Rosina at the Glyndeboure Festival and BBC Proms. Audiences in Europe can also hear her in a recital tour alongside Omer Meir Wellber.
A prolific recording artist, her debut recording for Decca, Handel Arias, was awarded the prestigious Orphée d’Or from and the much coveted ECHO Klassik award, as well as earning her a Classical Brit Award nomination for Female Artist of the Year. The Mozart Album, Diva, and Beauty of the Baroque followed.
De Niese, who at the age of 16 won an Emmy award for her work as a TV host, is also an acclaimed recording artist and TV personality. Her many TV appearances include her own TV documentary, “Diva Diaries,” which appeared on BBC Four, ITV1’s “Popstar to Operastar” series as well as co-presenting the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2013. In the United States, she has been featured on the nationally syndicated programme Better TV.
Offstage, de Niese is an advocate for children’s rights and a passionate philanthropist, and has been named by Marie Claire magazine on its influential list of “Women on Top”. She is an Ambassador for HRH The Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Children and the Arts, a patron of Future Talent, which assists young musicians and singers with financial support and guidance, and is an Artist Member of the Mannes Board of Governors alongside the likes of Murray Perahia, Julius Rudel, Richard Goode, Gordon Getty and Frederica von Stade. For the past year, de Niese has also been serving as an official Ambassador Voice for the International Rescue Committee. The IRC was founded in the 1930s by Albert Einstein, to raise awareness and support for those who have been displaced or otherwise affected by religious persecution, violent conflict or political oppression throughout the world. In 2014 de Niese travelled to Tanzania in her role as Ambassador, where she visited the IRC child protection programmes, performed for the Tanzanian government and at the country’s last remaining refugee camp, and joined forces with the First Lady to end child labour.
Photo Credit Decca Chris Dunlop