Since winning Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and Queen Sonja competitions in 2015, Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen has taken the classical music world by storm, with resounding debuts in venues such as Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Bayreuth, Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne Festivals, Bayerische Staatsoper, Wigmore Hall and the Barbican, Wiener Staatsoper, the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall and Zurich Opera House. ‘It’s been a long time since a singer has generated as much buzz,’ wrote Gramophone in its review of her debut album for Decca, which debuted at number one in the UK Classical music charts. Released on 31 May 2019, her recordings of music by Strauss and Wagner inspired the magazine to declare that ‘she is one of the greatest vocal talents to have emerged in recent years, if not decades’. Her second Decca solo album Beethoven, Wagner, Verdi was released to equal acclaim in March 2021.
Despite the Covid crisis, Davidsen’s astonishing ascent has been unstoppable: in August 2020 she was one of the first stars featured by the Metropolitan Opera as part of their celebrated series: Met Stars Live in Concert. Davidsen’s rendition of Grieg’s En Svane and Ved Rondane from the recital was then broadcast together with the New Year Speech of King Harald V of Norway and in April 2021 she was a guest on Norway’s most popular chat show Lindmo. Shortly after this, in May 2021, she re-opened Teatro Alla Scala in Milano, with a solo concert under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Chailly, and Bayerische Staatsoper with a concert performance of the 1st Act of Die Walküre alongside Jonas Kaufmann, both events happening during the same week she was awarded Female Singer of the Year by the International Opera Awards. Further highlights include Sieglinde Die Walküre in a new production at Deutsche Oper Berlin and in concert at Opera de Paris; the title role of Jenufa at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Elisabeth Tannhäuser at Bayerische Staatsoper; a return to Bayreuth in Tobias Kratzer’s production of Tannhäuser and concert performances of Die Walküre; as well as a Strauss film project with the Norwegian National Opera. On the recital platform her appearances include recitals at home in Oslo, for the Norwegian National Opera, in Germany at the Koncerthuset Dortmund and in Spain Palau de les Arts Valencia; and together with famed Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsens in Trondheim, Rosendal Chamber Music Festival in Norway, and Turku Festival in Finland.
Last season Davidsen made a widely acclaimed company debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Lisa Queen of Spades and took on the role of Leonore Fidelio, first in concert with Yannick Nezet Seguin and Opéra de Montreal and then at the Royal Opera House, in a new production by Tobias Kratzer and conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. Further appearances included a role debut as Ellen Orford Peter Grimes at the Enescu Festival; Strauss’ Op. 27 with Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen at the BBC Proms; Vier letzte Lieder with Orchestre de Paris; Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Gianandrea Noseda and the Wiener Symphoniker and with Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic; Sieglinde Die Walküre with Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and solo recitals in London (Barbican), Oslo, Copenhagen and Bergen.
Further recent highlights include her role debut as Elisabeth Tannhäuser which she performed at Opernhaus Zürich, Bayerische Staatsoper and in a triumphant debut at the Bayreuth Festival where she was hailed by the international press as a “voice once in a century”; Lisa Queen of Spades at Oper Stuttgart; the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos at Aix-en-Provence Festival; Wiener Staatsoper and Glyndebourne Festival; Agathe in a new production of Der Freischütz at Opernhaus Zürich; Cherubini’s Medea at Wexford Festival; Santuzza Cavalleria Rusticana and Sancta Susanna in Oslo; and Isabella Das Liebesverbot at Teatro Colon.
Recent concert appearances include Verdi’s Requiem at the BBC Proms with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrés Orozco Estrada, at the Royal Opera House with Sir Antonio Pappano, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi, and Philharmonia Orchestra and Edward Gardner; Strauss Op. 27 at the Edinburgh International Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko; Vier letzte Lieder with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Stavanger Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic, and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Die Walküre (1st Act) with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis and with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Edo de Waart; Wesendonck Lieder and Rückert-Lieder with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; and Sibelius’ Luonnotar with the BBC Philharmonic at the BBC Proms. Davidsen was an Artist in Residence with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra during the 2017-18 season when her appearances included an open-air concert, Verdi’s Requiem and Wesendonck Lieder as well as recital performances.
A 2014 graduate of the Opera Academy in Copenhagen, she has studied under Susanna Eken, previously gaining a degree from the Grieg Academy of Music in Bergen. In 2015 Davidsen was crowned winner of both the Operalia and the Queen Sonja competitions. Her breakthrough performances won her the First Prize, the Birgit Nilsson Award and the Audience Prize at the Operalia competition in London as well as the prize for the best performance of Norwegian music and the Ingrid Bjoner Scholarship at the Queen Sonja International Music Competition. She is also a triple winner at the 2015 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Amsterdam and a recipient of many awards, including the HSBC Aix-en-Provence Laureate, Statoil Talent Bursary Award, Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Danish Singers Award 2014 and the Kirstin Flagstad Award 2015. In 2018, Davidsen was presented with the prestigious Young Artist of the Year Award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards.
Liza Pique Dame
Title role Médée*
Susanna Sancta Susanna
Title role Jenufa*
Vitellia La clemenza di Tito
Title role Ariadne auf Naxos
Lisa Pique Dame*
Amelia Un ballo in maschera*
Princess Elisabeth Tannhäuser*
Isabella Das Liebesverbot
Freia Das Rheingold
Ortlinde Die Walküre
Third Norn Götterdämmerung
Agathe Der Freischütz
Das Klagende Lied
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Symphony No. 8
Vier letzte Lieder
It's one of the greatest voices I have heard
...you may banish me to Naxos if she doesn’t become the most wanted Wagnerian soprano of her generation
Lise Davidsen’s Ariadne is a universe of its own.