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

Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir revised her piece Aura especially for The Los Angeles Percussion Quartet. David Holechek hide caption

toggle caption David Holechek

All Songs TV

Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Volcanic Transmissions

As members of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet bow their vibraphones, brush their gongs and message their bass drums, the composer's evocative music oozes from blackness.

Ludovico Einaudi, performing live for KCRW. Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW

Favorite Sessions

Ludovico Einaudi, 'Petricor' (Live)

KCRW

Watch the pianist and composer, joined by a full band, in a stunning live performance for KCRW.

Opera singer Joyce DiDonato created this video to go with her new album, In War and Peace: Harmony through Music. Warner Classics hide caption

toggle caption Warner Classics

Music

In Chaotic Times, A Singer's Plea For Freedom

Opera star Joyce DiDonato does more than sing — she lends her voice to social causes. Watch her new video, a haunting depiction of a woman trapped in conflict.

Gustavo Dudamel led the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra to open the new season of concerts at Carnegie Hall Thursday, Oct. 6. Chris Lee/Carnegie Hall hide caption

toggle caption Chris Lee/Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall Live

Gustavo Dudamel Opens Carnegie Hall Season With 'The Rite Of Spring'

WQXR radio

The charismatic conductor first heard Stravinsky's rambunctious music when he was just 8. Watch him lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela live on Thursday night.

A still from Maya Beiser's "Air" video. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

First Watch: Maya Beiser, 'Air'

In a new video, the cellist plays with time and memory, turning back the clock to when she first heard J.S. Bach's music on a scratchy old LP. It remains, she says, a timeless lodestar for her art.

Yuja Wang played a demanding program at Carnegie Hall, topped by four encores. Ebru Yildiz/for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ebru Yildiz/for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

Yuja Wang Plays Carnegie Hall

WQXR radio

Hear one of today's most charismatic pianists perform music with deep psychological — and physical — dimensions by Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms.

Yuja Wang Plays Carnegie Hall

Audio is no longer available

Conductor Mariss Jansons led the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall Wednesday in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad." AJ Wilhelm for NPR hide caption

toggle caption AJ Wilhelm for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

The 'Leningrad' Symphony At Carnegie Hall

WQXR radio

Dmitri Shostakovich's powerful Seventh Symphony was written during the devastating World War II siege of Leningrad. Hear Mariss Jansons lead the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The 'Leningrad' Symphony At Carnegie Hall

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/474662768/475125195" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Michael Mizrahi channels the harpsichord in new music by Troy Herion. Eno Swinnen/Courtesy of the Artist hide caption

toggle caption Eno Swinnen/Courtesy of the Artist

All Songs TV

First Watch: Michael Mizrahi, 'Harpsichords'

In this animated video, pianist Michael Mizrahi channels the old Baroque harpsichord in new music written for him by Troy Herion.

Back To Top