Danielle de Niese

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Danielle de Niese
Born (1979-04-11) 11 April 1979 (age 36)
Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Operatic soprano

Danielle de Niese (born 11 April 1979) is an Australian-American lyric soprano. After success as a young child in singing competitions in Australia, she moved to the United States where she developed an operatic career. From 2005 she came to widespread public attention with her performances as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne, England.

Early life[edit]

De Niese was born in Melbourne, Australia, after her parents, Chris and Beverly, had migrated from Sri Lanka to Australia as teenagers.[1] She is a Sri Lankan Burgher with some Dutch and Scottish heritage.[1] In 1988, at the age of nine, she became the youngest winner of the Australian TV talent competition, Young Talent Time. In the competition, she was singing a Whitney Houston medley, for which the prize was A$ 5,000 and a Yamaha baby grand piano, which she still owns.[1]

In 1990, her family moved to Los Angeles, where she became a regular guest host of the TV programme L.A. Kids for which she won an Emmy Award at the age of 16.[2]


De Niese made her professional operatic debut at the age of 15 with the Los Angeles Opera. She became the youngest singer ever to participate in the Young Artists Studio at the Metropolitan Opera,[3] where she debuted in 1998 at the age of 19 as Barbarina in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro directed by Jonathan Miller and conducted by James Levine.

Ridley Scott's 2001 film Hannibal features a scene from Dante's La Vita Nuova; in it, de Niese sings as the character Beatrice the song "Vide Cor Meum" by Patrick Cassidy. She was subsequently asked to perform the title role in the Met's production of Maurice Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges. Other Met roles include Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare (2007), Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice (2009), and Susanna in the same production of Le Nozze di Figaro in which she sang Barbarina in 1998.[4]

De Niese's still growing career has ranged through Baroque music (Poppea in L'incoronazione di Poppea), via Handel, Mozart and contemporary opera premieres (RAAFF by Robin de Raaff (nl), 2004, De Nederlandse Opera)[5] at major opera houses around the world, to Broadway (Les Misérables) and film (Hannibal) roles. She has appeared in productions of a number of Baroque operas on stage and on DVD, including the Les Arts Florissants production of Les Indes galantes by Jean-Philippe Rameau, and as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, directed by David McVicar, at Glyndebourne in 2005, 2006 and 2009, and in the same production at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2007. At the end of 2006, when De Nederlandse Opera staged the three Mozart-Da Ponte operas conducted by Ingo Metzmacher, de Niese sang Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Despina in Così fan tutte. In 2009, de Niese made her Covent Garden debut in The Royal Opera's production of Handel's Acis and Galatea, directed by choreographer Wayne McGregor and recorded on DVD.

Beginning on 31 December 2011 and continuing through January 2012, de Niese appeared as Ariel in The Enchanted Island, a pastiche opera created by Jeremy Sams for the Metropolitan Opera. The performance on 21 January was broadcast worldwide as a MET HD video transmission.


Personal life[edit]

De Niese (called Danni by her friends and colleagues) married Gus Christie, grandson of John Christie and chairman of Glyndebourne Festival Opera,[6] on 19 December 2009 in St Bartholomew-the-Great, London.[7] Since her marriage she has lived at Glyndebourne in Sussex, England.


  1. ^ a b c Chip Brown (16 September 2009). "Opera's Coolest Soprano". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "Danielle de Niese: The slim lady sings" by Jessica Duchen, The Independent (16 April 2008)
  3. ^ ClassicalTV interview (2009)
  4. ^ Le nozze di Figaro, The Metropolitan Opera
  5. ^ RAAFF recording at amazon.com
  6. ^ Chrissy Iley (28 March 2010). "Diva of the Downs Danielle de Niese". The Times. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Diary for December 2009" (PDF). St Bartholomew-the-Great. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 

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