Danielle de Niese has been hailed as “opera’s coolest soprano” by New York Times Magazine. 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.
Engagements in the 2020/21 season include revisiting one of her most acclaimed roles as Adina L'elisir d'amore at the Hamburg State Opera, as well an eagerly awaited return to the Royal Opera House. On the concert platform she gives a solo concert at the Malta International Arts Festival with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alexander Shelley and appears for masterclasses and a recital at the Bergen International Festival. De Niese was also invited to return to Teatro alla Scala as Poppea Agrippina, following her hugely celebrated debut there as Cleopatra in a new production of Giulio Cesare under the direction of Robert Carsen.
Last season she made a triumphant return to Los Angeles Opera to sing the title role in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s new opera Eurydice, and a hugely acclaimed debut on the stage of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with her signature role of Cleopatra in Robert Carsen’s new production of Giulio Cesare. She also appeared as Ciboulette in Offenbach’s In the Market for Love with Glyndebourne as part of the ‘outdoor opera’ series, was invited to debut as Blanche in Barrie Kosky’s new production of Dialogues des Carmélites at the Glyndebourne Festival, and to join Boston Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Ades as their Narrator in performances of Persephone.
Recent highlights include her return to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Musetta La bohème in Richard Jones’ acclaimed production - a role for which she garnered huge acclaim at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She starred as Norina in Laurent Pelly’s production of Don Pasquale at La Monnaie - which was broadcast worldwide on Mezzo - and made her role debut as Cendrillon at Glyndebourne in a new production by Fiona Shaw, which was globally streamed and released on DVD by OPUS Arte. De Niese also made a hugely successful West End debut as Aldonza and Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha alongside Kelsey Grammar at the London Coliseum - the first London production in 50 years. Other recent engagements include a sensational debut as Hanna Glawari with Opera Australia in a new production of The Merry Widow - first presented in Melbourne, and reopening in Sydney with a gala performance on New Year’s Eve; a return to Royal Opera House where she sang her first Musetta to huge public and critical acclaim; Norina Don Pasquale at Wiener Staatsoper; and the hugely successful Wonderful Town with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, which was subsequently released on CD and for which she was nominated for the Opus Klassik Female Artist of the Year. Concert appearances include successful solo tours in the Middle East and Asia; an opera gala with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra; headlining the BBC Biggest Weekend at Scone Palace in Perth; and a chamber music evening curated by De Niese - part of the reopening of the Queen Elisabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre where, together with her guests Menahem Pressler, Sir James Galway, Mark Simpson, and the Navarra String Quartet she performed music by Roussel, Schubert and Chausson. On the recital platform she appeared at the Cheltenham Festival in their 75th anniversary season.
Further successes include a double header for the BBC Proms, singing at the Royal Albert Hall’s Last Night of the Proms opposite Jonas Kaufmann - broadcast worldwide - and at Proms in the Park in Hyde Park, as well as appearances at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, gala concerts with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and in St Petersburg at ‘Classics at the Palace Square’. Audiences in the UK have 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. Her operatic engagements included creating the lead role of Roxanne Coss for the world premiere of Jimmy López’s Bel Canto at Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, her role debut as Donna Elvira Don Giovanni with Semperoper Dresden, Norina Don Pasquale in her company debut with Wiener Staatsoper, Adina L’elisir d'amore at the Opera National du Rhin, Rodelinda and Poppea Agrippina at Theater an der Wien, and the new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia as Rosina at the Glyndebourne Festival and BBC Proms. Further appearances include Concepción L’heure espagnole and L’Enfant L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Norina Don Pasquale, Adina L’Elisir d’amore at Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Susanna Le nozze di Figaro, Ariel The Enchanted Island, and Despina Così fan tutte, Euridice Orfeo ed Euridice - all at the Metropolitan Opera New York; the title role L'incoronazione di Poppea at Teatro Real Madrid; the title role of Partenope and Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro at San Francisco Opera; the title role of Semele at Theâtre des Champs-Elysees; the title role of La Calisto at Bayerische Staatsoper; and Poppea Agrippina at Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona.
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, Opera National de Lyon 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.
A TV and media personality, De Niese won an Emmy at the age of 16, as host of a weekly art showcase for teenagers at a Los Angeles local television studio. Her many TV appearances received widespread attention, whilst her BBC documentaries such as Diva Diaries, The Birth of an Opera and the most recent and highly praised Unsung Heroines attest to her extraordinary passion for the art form she represents, and her tireless commitment to bringing new audiences to it.
Offstage, de Niese is passionate about music education, an advocate for children’s rights 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 six years, de Niese has also been serving as an official Ambassador of Voice for the International Rescue Committee.
Title role Cendrillon
Musetta La boheme
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Norina Don Pasquale
New York Times Magazine
Opera's coolest soprano
With de Niese around, not much else matters. She's a natural stage animal, relishing movement besides sound and socking out the glitter of the coquettish heroine's coloratura, the higher and more brilliant the better.
BBC Radio 3
One of the most sought-after singers on the planet.