Danielle de Niese
© Sven Arnstein
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.
The season of 17/18 sees her returning to her native Australia not only for her highly anticipated operatic debut in the Southern Hemisphere but also a role debut as Hanna Glawari in a new exciting production of Merry Widow, first presented in Melbourne and opening in Sydney on New Year’s Eve. De Niese also returns to Royal Opera House, Covent Garden where she sings her first Musetta in a new production of La bohème. On the concert platform she appears as Eileen in Bernstein's Wonderful Town with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, part of their Bernstein Centenary Anniversary Week and tours for the first time to the Middle East and Asia.
Last season on the concert and recital platform de Niese made appearances at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, in Dublin with the RTE Concert Orchestra, at the Tivoli Festival with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra and gala concerts with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, in St Petersburg at ‘Classics at the Palace Square’ and at the Festival Napa Valley. Audiences in the UK heard her in recital with Julius Drake at the Barbican, the Snape Proms and at the Birmingham Conservatoire as part of the Celebrity Recital Series. Operatic highlights included her role debut as Donna Elvira Don Giovanni with Semperoper Dresden, Adina L’elisir d'amore at the Opera national du Rhin and Norina Don Pasquale in her company debut with Wiener Staatsoper.
Recent highlights include 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 included the world premiere of Jimmy López’s Bel Canto at Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, a return to Theater an der Wien to sing Poppea in Robert Carsen’s new production of Handel's Agrippina, under Thomas Hengelbrock, and the new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia as Rosina at the Glyndebourne Festival and BBC Proms.
Other recent highlights include a critically acclaimed run in the title role of Handel's 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, Susanna in Richard Eyre’s new production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea for Teatro Real Madrid, Ariel in The Enchanted Island and Despina in Mozart's Così fan tutte 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.
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's 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 Sir David McVicar’s production of Handel's Giulio Cesare 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.
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.
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. For the past year, de Niese has also been serving as an official Ambassador Voice for the International Rescue Committee.