Biography

Danielle de Niese’s “sweet, gleaming soprano,” “phenomenal musicality” and “sharply comic, yet utterly moving acting,” combined with an entrancing physical presence, have launched her into a spectacular career. She has been called “Opera’s coolest soprano” by the New York Times Magazine and “not just a superb performer, but a phenomenal one” by Opera News. Marie Claire magazine has named de Niese to their influential 2011 “Women on Top” while the Independent sums her up saying “With de Niese around, not much else matters.”

The Australian-born American singer who “looks like a pop diva but sings like a real one” (St. Louis Post Dispatch) regularly appears on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages and has an exclusive recording contract with Decca. For her debut solo album, Handel Arias, released in 2007, de Niese was named New Artist of the Year at the 2008 ECHO Awards, received the 2008 Orphee D'Or by the Academie Du Disque Lyrique, and was nominated for the 2009 Classical Brit Award for Female Artist of the Year. The Mozart Album followed in 2009 while Diva was released in July 2010 throughout the United Kingdom. Beauty of the Baroque, de Niese’s latest Decca release of favorite arias from the English, German, and Italian traditions, accompanied by The English Concert under Harry Bicket was released in summer 2011 in the UK and in early 2012 in the US.

Through a combination of her recordings, live performance, and television exposure de Niese has gained wide recognition as a highly respected but popular classical artist, who combines effortless grace and class with the ability to communicate on every level. Most recently she appeared as a judge on the new BBC series Maestro at the Opera, a creative collaboration between the BBC and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden which chronicled four well-known British television personalities as they became “apprentice” conductors. She appeared on ITV1’s recent Popstar to Operastar series, and she is also the subject of her own TV documentary, Diva Diaries, which appeared on BBC4 television. In the United States, she has been featured on the nationally syndicated program Better TV.

Ms. de Niese’s 2011-12 season included the role of Ariel in the Metropolitan Opera’s world premiere production of The Enchanted Island – which was shown in movie theatres worldwide on January 21st, 2012 as part of the Met’s HD Broadcast series. She received spectacular reviews for her role debut as Atalanta in Handel’s Xerxes at Theatre an der Wien, and triumphed as well in her San Diego Opera debut as Norina in Don Pasquale. She returned to her native Australia for a six-city tour with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Upcoming performances include concerts in Great Britain, Ireland and the Czech Republic as well as her debut in Brussels as Adele in Die Fledermaus.

Ms. de Niese’s career got off to a formidable start when, at age eighteen, she became the youngest singer ever to enter the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. A year later she made her Met debut as Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro in Jonathan Miller's acclaimed new production with James Levine. Soon after came important operatic debuts with the Netherlands Opera, the Saito Kinen Festival, and the Paris Opera, but it was her portrayal of Cleopatra in a David McVicar production of Handel's Giulio Cesare for her 2005 Glyndebourne Festival debut that brought her true international acclaim. The New York Times hailed De Niese’s performance, writing, “Her singing is utterly delectable and completely assured … Sheer ‘joie de vivre’ and mastery come spilling across, to the eyes as well as the ears.”

Ms. de Niese has enjoyed continued successes on the stages of the Paris Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Netherlands Opera, Teatro Real, San Francisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others. She has sung with conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Andrew Davis, William Christie, Christophe Rousset, Marc Minkowski and Emmanuelle Haïm. Orchestral engagements have included appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Important recent opera engagements include the title role in L'incoronazione di Poppea with Madrid’s Teatro Real, the title role of Semele at the Theâtre des Champs Elysees, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with San Francisco Opera, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte at the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Rodelinda under the legendary Nicholas Harnoncourt at Vienna’s Theatre an der Wien and her first performances as Adina in L’Elisir d’amore at the Glyndebourne Festival.

Born to parents of Sri Lankan and Dutch heritage, Danielle de Niese grew up in Los Angeles. The soprano has been captivating audiences since childhood, when she was a fixture of Los Angeles local television hosting a weekly arts showcase for teenagers, for which she won an Emmy Award at the age of 16.

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