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

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 tackle the toughest sonata Beethoven could muster.

Yuja Wang Plays Carnegie Hall
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/477930830/478244355" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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

Mariss Jansons leads the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's wartime epic.

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'

Pianist Michael Mizrahi channels old school harpsichord music in a new piece by Troy Herion.

Music director Iván Fischer leading an Budapest Festival Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall in New York Thursday. A.J. Wilhelm for NPR hide caption

toggle caption A.J. Wilhelm for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

Budapest Festival Orchestra Plays Carnegie Hall

Iván Fischer conducts a Liszt piano concerto with soloist Marc-André Hamelin.

Budapest Festival Orchestra Plays Carnegie Hall
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/466299701/467669984" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lawrence Brownlee performs with pianist Jason Moran in the active crypt below the historic Church of the Intercession in Harlem. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Field Recordings

Singing For Life In A Crypt In Harlem

Opera singer Lawrence Brownlee joins jazz pianist Jason Moran in an old spiritual.

Tiny Desk Concert with Teddy Abrams Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Teddy Abrams

Hear a young conductor, composer and pianist play Beethoven and his own jazzy pieces.

Conductor Simon Rattle took his Berlin Philharmonic and symphonies by Beethoven to Carnegie Hall for a week-long residency. AJ Wilhelm/NPR hide caption

toggle caption AJ Wilhelm/NPR

Classics in Concert

Beethoven Symphonies At Carnegie Hall Via Berlin

WQXR radio

From a week-long residency, hear the Berlin Philharmonic in Beethoven's Sixth and Eighth.

Beethoven Symphonies At Carnegie Hall Via Berlin
Audio is no longer available

Conductor Andris Nelsons led the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus Thursday in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky at Carnegie Hall in New York. AJ Wilhelm for NPR hide caption

toggle caption AJ Wilhelm for NPR

Classics in Concert

A Tale Of Two Sergeys: Boston Symphony Orchestra At Carnegie Hall

WQXR radio

Andris Nelsons conducts Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances.

A Tale Of Two Sergeys: Boston Symphony Orchestra At Carnegie Hall
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/451116807/451174052" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic, with pianist Evgeny Kissin, at Carnegie Hall's gala opening concert, Oct. 7. AJ Wilhelm /for NPR hide caption

toggle caption AJ Wilhelm /for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

The New York Philharmonic At Carnegie Hall

WQXR radio

Pianist Evgeny Kissin brings Tchaikovsky, and a sense of history, to Carnegie's opening concert.

The New York Philharmonic At Carnegie Hall
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/442287960/446705652" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top