Classics in Concert

Danielle De Niese In Concert

At first blush, you might not think operas and nightclubs would be a natural pairing. But an evening at New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge with Danielle de Niese — the 33-year-old star soprano who calls herself a "diva for the digital age" — proved a blend of uptown music and downtown grit could be just right.

Clad in a complicated teal gown the singer later called "a perfect mix of rock 'n' roll and diva glam," she grooved her way through the show. She's an intensely physical performer. Forget the image of a prim soprano parking and barking — de Niese literally dances on stage. (Who knew that you could totally rock out to Cleopatra's aria "Da Tempeste Il Legno Infranto" from Handel's opera Serse?) The personal charisma and magnetism for which de Niese is famous were on ample display. And it's hard to imagine an artist who has more sheer fun onstage, down to her machine-gun pantomiming in the midst of the Cleopatria aria.

At the same time, de Niese isn't an artist who makes any secret of what hard work singing is. Before a fast run, she stretches out her arms and rubs her hands in anticipation of what's coming next. And on this night, in the surprisingly stuffy air of a mid-January Manhattan night, she frequently brushed her hair away from the back of her neck to cool off. Even during the hushed and beautiful Dowland song "Come Again, Sweet Love Doth Now Invite," de Niese relaxed on a barstool with an almost leonine elegance before stretching out languorously for Monteverdi's "Quel Sguardo Sdegnosetto." Is she a diva for the digital age? Maybe. But what's perhaps more important is the openness of her artistry — she's just as comfortable on a small club stage as she is at the Met.

Credits:

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Production Assistant: Doriane Raiman; Special Thanks to: Doron Schachter/LPR; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins

[+] read more[-] less

More From Classical

Tiny Desk Concert with Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondonassis. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Tiny Desk

Jason Vieaux And Yolanda Kondonassis

Watch the Grammy-winning guitarist and acclaimed harpist play music influenced by Africa and Asia.

Viola da gamba master Jordi Savall leads his ensemble Le Concert des Nations in a performance at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on Apr. 16, 2015. AJ Wilhelm for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption AJ Wilhelm for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

Jordi Savall And Le Concert Des Nations WQXR-FM

Hear the consummate master of early music lead an exhilarating program of French compositions.

Listen Loading… 2:21:40
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/347126561/401021961" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Tiny Desk Concert with Anonymous 4 on March 4. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Anonymous 4 With Bruce Molsky

The a cappella quartet, with banjo and fiddle, offers popular songs from the Civil War era.

András Schiff takes late sonatas by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert to Carnegie Hall. AJ Wilhelm/for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption AJ Wilhelm/for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

András Schiff Plays Mozart, Haydn, Schubert And Beethoven At Carnegie Hall WQXR-FM

On March 10, hear the eminent pianist in a solo recital of sublime masterworks.

Listen Loading… 2:03:37
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/347112344/392189990" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Baritone Thomas Hampson brings a Civil War-themed program to Carnegie Hall Feb. 9, 2015. Kristine Hoebermann hide caption

itoggle caption Kristine Hoebermann

Carnegie Hall Live

Thomas Hampson Sings A World Premiere WQXR-FM

Hear the beloved American baritone sing a new work by Jennifer Higdon in this recital.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a concert of powerhouse orchestral works at Carnegie Hall. AJ Wilhelm for NPR Music hide caption

itoggle caption AJ Wilhelm for NPR Music

Carnegie Hall Live

The Chicago Symphony Plays A Colorful Concert WQXR-FM

Hear the CSO and its charismatic conductor Riccardo Muti in a program of Scriabin and Debussy.

Listen Loading… 2:00
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/347102210/382739058" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Back To Top