Lise Davidsen, the most in-demand soprano in the world right now, announces the release of her new album, ‘Christmas From Norway’ via Decca Classics on 10 November 2023. Hailed as “The living, breathing meteor of the current opera world” (The i Paper), Lise’s forthcoming album presents a delightful and personally-selected collection of traditional Norwegian Christmas music and classic festive favourites, spreading the warm glow of the Scandinavian Christmas spirit. Reflecting on the project, the soprano expresses her long-standing desire to create this album. Lise says, “For Scandinavians, Christmas serves as a beacon of light in the midst of a lengthy winter. Perhaps that is why we embrace it so wholeheartedly.”
The opera sensation is also set to perform at the prestigious Last Night of the Proms 2023 on 9 September. After her “legendary performance” (Evening Standard) and “tour de force of glorious singing” (The Guardian) in Verdi’s ‘Don Carlo’ at the London’s Royal Opera House this summer, Lise will now headline the UK’s most popular classical event alongside cellist and label-mate Sheku Kanneh-Mason and accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, and BBC Singers. Following last year’s cancellation due to the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth, the soprano is looking forward to closing the BBC Proms, describing the event as “the closest classical singers and musicians get to a sports event or a rock concert”.
Critics have lauded Lise Davidsen’s soaring soprano voice, comparing it to a “God-given instrument”(The Times), “with multiple shades of colour… midnight ink; honeyed gold; burgundy as burnished as her silk dress.” (The Daily Telegraph) comparing her performances to “watching a Roger Federer serve: there’s elegance, grace, apparently effortless fluidity…” (Bachtrack).
‘Christmas From Norway’ is an album particularly close to Lise’s heart – the holiday season not only being the singer’s favourite time of the year but also embodying her vision for music: breaking barriers and making it accessible to all without losing the craft. “Christmas is how I got into music” she recalls. “We listened to all kinds of music: choral music, popular music, and Norwegian songs.” A time when everyone can feel welcome to experience the beauty of classical music, even if they do not understand it fully at first, as she confessed “I’ve been in that situation myself a million times, wondering what’s going on… I’ve fallen asleep. I’ve not understood things. Classical music is for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to understand right away”.
For this album, the soprano draws inspiration from the classic albums of iconic predecessors on Decca Classics, such as Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson. The album features beautiful arrangements drawn from the label’s archive, originally made for such legendary singers as Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, and Renée Fleming.
Accompanied by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Soloists’ Choir, and National Opera Children’s Choir, ‘Christmas From Norway’ includes “songs we all know.” She adds, “I love that Christmas music has such reach.”
Highlights include ‘O Holy Night’ sung in both Swedish and English, featuring Douglas Gamley's orchestration originally made for Pavarotti, and a beautiful adaptation of ‘Silent Night’ by David Cullen, originally arranged for Kiri Te Kanawa. The timeless ‘Ave Maria’ showcases Leontyne Price’s iconic version recorded with Herbert Von Karajan in Vienna on her legendary Christmas album. “I find those recordings wonderful and so Christmassy,” says Lise, expressing her admiration for these famous performances that have left an indelible mark on the festive music landscape.
The album will be available on Decca Classics on 10 November.