Danielle Deniese

“And in the lore of showbiz cliché, a star was born: as Cleopatra, Danielle de Niese was sexy and saucy.” (The Evening Standard)

“A performer of charismatic good looks and stage presence, she won the audience equally by her singing of the Egyptian queen’s varied sequence of arias.” (Opera News)

“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.” (The New York Times)

Soprano Danielle de Niese’s career got off to a prodigious start, with early operatic debuts at 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 (conducted by William Christie) for her 2005 Glyndebourne Festival debut that brought true international acclaim. Her “sweet, gleaming soprano”, “phenomenal musicality” and “sharply comic, yet utterly moving” acting, combined with youth and physical presence, have brought her to the edge of a spectacular career, capped by the recent signing of an exclusive recording contract with Decca Records.

The 2008-09 season finds Ms. de Niese making her house and role debut at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Galatea in Acis and Galatea as well as her Austrian debut at the Theater an der Wien as Ginevra in Ariodante. She returns to both the Metropolitan Opera in the acclaimed Mark Morris production of Orefo ed Euridice opposite Stephanie Blythe, and Glyndebourne as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare with Emmanuelle Haïm and opposite Sarah Connolly as Giulio Cesare. In February, Ms. de Niese will conduct a coast-to-coast recital tour where she begins at the legendary Harriman-Jewell Series in Kansas City, Missouri, and includes appearances at Cal Performances in Berkeley, California, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. The Australian–born American soprano has been captivating audiences since childhood, when she was a fixture of Los Angeles local television hosting a weekly arts showcase for teenagers, and for which she won an Emmy Award. While training in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera, she made her house debut at age 19 as Barbarina in a new Jonathan Miller Le nozze di Figaro with Renée Fleming, Bryn Terfel, and Cecilia Bartoli as castmates. James Levine conducted, and subsequently he invited her to sing the title role of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges in addition to concerts with the Met Chamber Ensemble. Other early engagements included Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi for the Los Angeles Opera, Nannetta in Falstaff for the Santa Fe Opera, and concerts with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony.

Soon after came important European debuts: Cleopatra for both the Netherlands Opera and the Paris Opera (opposite David Daniels) conducted by Marc Minkowski. She continued in Paris with Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes under William Christie, and in the Netherlands with a contemporary work by Robin de Raaff, staged by Pierre Audi; she also made her Italian debut in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. The role of Monteverdi’s Poppea provided a debut in Zurich - under the baton of the legendary Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Recent house debuts include the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Theatre de la Monnaie as Cleopatra, the Canadian Opera Company in the title role of Handel’s Rodelinda conducted by Harry Bicket, and at Suntory Hall as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Nicola Luisotti. Return engagements have found her in Amsterdam as her first Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and in the Pierre Audi production of L'incoronazione di Poppea, the Metropolitan Opera for performances of Giulio Cesare, Theatre Champs-Elysées, as Ginevra in Ariodante, and appeared at the Chicago Opera Theater as Monteverdi’s Poppea and Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She triumphantly returned to Glyndebourne in the title role of L'incoronazione di Poppea under the direction of French early-music sensation Emmanuelle Haïm which included a concert at the Proms at Royal Albert Hall.

Past orchestral engagements included appearances with Opera Fuoco at the Concertgebouw, her Mostly Mozart debut at the Barbican with The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and a concert of works by Handel with the Venice Baroque Orchestra at the Festival del Sole in Cortona, Italy.

Australian-born to parents of Sri Lankan and Dutch heritage, Danielle de Niese grew up in Los Angeles. Trained in dance and piano as well as music at the famed Colburn School in Los Angeles, she participated in the Tanglewood, Aspen and Marlboro summer programs before coming to New York in 1997. While still a freshman at the Mannes School of Music, she became, at age 18, the youngest artist ever to enter the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Program.