Lise Davidsen signs with Decca Classics
Photo by Carsten Windhorst / FRPAP.com

Lise has signed an exclusive recording deal with Decca Classics, the first Scandinavian dramatic soprano to sign to the label since Birgit Nilsson, whose centenary is celebrated this year. She is also the first Norwegian singer to join the label since her compatriot Kirsten Flagstad made her acclaimed late recordings for Decca in the 1950s. Lise’s debut album will feature Strauss’ Four Last Songs and arias from Ariadne auf Naxos and Wagner’s Tannhäuser and will be released early in 2019.

On signing to the label, Lise said: “I’m delighted to begin my recording career with Decca, a label which is home to many amazing singers who I admire. I’m looking forward to performing some of my favourite vocal repertoire and sharing my love of music with a wider audience.”

Dr. Alexander Buhr, Managing Director of Decca Classics, said: “Lise Davidsen is a remarkable talent. Her astonishing voice, incredible musicianship and commanding stage presence make for truly spine-tingling performances. Decca has a history of nurturing and documenting many of the greatest voices of the last century and we are proud and happy to open a new chapter of that story with Lise.”

Lise returns to the concert stage on 5 April when she joins the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen. Lise performs arias from operas including Verdi’s Otello and Un ballo in maschera as well as Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Wesendonck Lieder.

Later in the month, Lise joins the Copenhagen Philharmonic at the Royal Danish Conservatory’s concert hall on 26 April. She sings Richard Strauss’ posthumously published Four Last Songs, which she also performed in March with the Oslo Philharmonic.

Lise returns to Oslo this month for two performances of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Oslo Phiharmonic Orchestra on 14 and 15 March. Also on the programme for the concerts is the composer’s tone poem Tod und Verklärung. The two pieces come from opposing ends of Strauss’ life; he wrote Tod und Verklärung at the age of 24, while the Four Last Songs were the last orchestral works he completed 60 years later. Lise returns to Strauss’ works again this summer when she sings the title role of  Ariadne auf Naxos at this year’s Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, her debut at the festival.

Recent highlights for Lise include Strauss’ Op.27 songs, also with the Oslo Philharmonic, and her Swedish debut in Beethoven’s famous Symphony No.9 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

Lise joins the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra on 8 February to perform Strauss Opus 27 songs under the baton of Vasily Petrenko. The four songs of Op.27 were originally scored for voice and piano and set words from poems by Heinrich Hart, Karl Henckell and John Henry Mackay. Lise returns to the works of Strauss later this season when she reunites with Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic to sing the composer’s famous Four Last Songs in March. She also makes her debut at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in their new production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

Elsewhere this month, Lise continues her artistic residency with the Bergen Philharmonic when she returns with pianist James Baillieu for an operatic recital at Bergen’s University Aula on 7 February. She also joins the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra to sing in Beethoven Symphony No.9 on 22 and 24 February.

Lise returns to Bergen this month to continue her artistic residency with the Bergen Philharmonic in two performances on 26 and 28 January. On 26 January, she joins the orchestra and their Chief Conductor Edward Gardner to sing Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and Sibelius’ Luonnotar. On 28 January, Gardner, Davidsen and the orchestra appear at the Norwegian National Opera, with Luonnotar once again on the programme.

The residency continues on 8 February when she is rejoined by pianist James Baillieu for a recital of arias and songs by Verdi, Cherubini, Mascagni, Weber and Wagner at the University of Bergen. Elsewhere in February, she performs Beethoven Symphony No.9 with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra on 1 February and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lise continues her season-long artistic residency with the Bergen Philharmonic on 7 December when she performs in recital at Bergen’s University Aula with pianist James Baillieu. Together they perform a programme of songs by Grieg, Sibelius, Brahms and Strauss.

Lise made her UK recital debut alongside Baillieu at London’s Wigmore Hall in May. They give another recital in Bergen in February, this time featuring arias by Verdi, Cherubini, Mascagni, Weber and Wagner.

The residency began in August when Lise joined the orchestra and Edward Gardner for a free open-air concert in City Square. It continues in January with performances of Sibelius Luonnotar and Wagner Wesendonck Lieder.

Lise makes another highly-anticipated debut this month as she gives her first performance at the Wiener Staatsoper on 23 November. Lise returns to the title role of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, her third time singing the role this year after productions with Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the Arctic Philharmonic. She stars alongside Rachel Frenkel as the Composer, Stephen Gould as Bacchus and Erin Morley as Zerbinetta, who also sung the role at Glyndebourne. Sven-Eric Bechtolf’s production is also performed on 26 and 29 November, with Peter Schneider conducting. The performance on 29 November will be broadcast live on Wiener Staatsoper’s website – click here for more information.

Lise sings Ariadne again later in the season, starring in a new production at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. In December, she begins her Bergen Philharmonic artistic residency with a recital of songs by Grieg, Sibelius, Brahms and Strauss with pianist James Baillieu. The residency also features performances of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and Sibelius’ tone poem for soprano and orchestra, Luonnator.

Lise was recently profiled in the Washington Times – click here to read the interview.

Lise makes her latest role and house debut on 19 October, singing the title role in Cherubini’s rarely performed Medea at the Wexford Festival. This new production is directed by Fiona Shaw and conducted by Stephen Barlow. Based upon Euripides’ tragedy, the opera draws upon Pierre Corneille’s 1635 play Médée.

This season Lise makes two more house debuts in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos, at Wiener Staatsoper in November and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence later in the season. She also embarks upon an artistic residency with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Other concert engagements include Beethoven Symphony No.9 with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Strauss Op. 27 songs with the Oslo Philharmonic.

Performances of Medea run until 3 November.

Lise has been announced as the winner of the Norwegian Critics’ Association Music Award for 2016/17. She was nominated for her performance in the title role of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos with the Arctic Philharmonic in March 2017. Announcing the award, Norwegian music critic Hilde Halvorsrød said:

“Lise Davidsen carried the whole show on her shoulders. The interesting thing about Richard Strauss’ Ariadne character is that the text does its best to make fun of her existential longing for a man who will never return, ending in an equally intense longing for death. Strauss writes in a gay group from a parallel story that tries to cheer her up and lets the loose figure of Zerbinetta try to persuade Ariadne to do as herself: just find a new man or two. But the music is always on Ariadne’s side, and Strauss does not put anything in between when he paints her pain. She is standing alone in her own world, faithful to love, and does not bend for anything. That is why the Music Prize Prize for the 2016/17 season is so well deserved by Lise Davidsen.”

Following her nominations for the Spellemann and Norwegian Music Export Awards in May, Lise has also been announced as one of three nominees for the Norwegian Critics’ Association Music Award. Lise has been nominated for her performances as Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Arctic Philharmonic in March 2017.

The Norwegian Critics’ Association also awards prizes for achievements in theatre and dance. The winners will be announced at Oslo’s Litteraturhuset at 11am on Thursday 28 September.