Last month, Lise made her highly anticipated debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades, which ran from 29 November to 21 December.
Described as “the most superhuman of singing Scandinavians”, her performances have garnered rave reviews:

“Davidsen, equipped with both silver-bright top notes and a warmly expressive, mezzo-like lower range, has the elemental gift of being able to fill the gigantic Met auditorium with rich, blazing tone. Such effortless force has not been often heard at Lincoln Center since the retirement of Birgit Nilsson, the most superhuman of singing Scandinavians.”
The New Yorker, December 2019

“The soprano Lise Davidsen, who made a radiant debut at the Metropolitan Opera in The Queen of Spades on Friday evening. Singing with confidence, power and purpose, with both freshness and maturity, Ms. Davidsen, just 32, staked a precocious claim to the great Wagner and Strauss roles that require equal parts youthful flexibility and sheer strength.”
The New York Times, December 2019

“The new star is named Lise Davidsen, and her debut performance as Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades offers more than ample evidence she’s got the voice and temperament to be the company’s next A-list dramatic soprano. Davidsen’s voice is a massive column of sound, fascinatingly complex in timbre in middle voice, and then gleaming like platinum in the upper fifth of her range.”
The Observer, December 2019

“There’s no question Davidsen scored a major success in her house debut as Lisa. She boasts a voice of startling power, with bright color and warmth from top to bottom, but even more impressive than the voice itself is Davidsen’s astonishing technique. Whether bringing soft glow to an intimate moment in her middle voice, or finding focus in her bright, bell-like top, she was always in complete control of her instrument. Even her highest notes never felt the slightest push, sounding as comfortable as though she had approached them from above.
That complete confidence in her technique opened up a wide range of emotive possibilities in every part of her voice. Her final aria in Act III, “Akh, istomilas ya gorem” (I am worn out with suffering), showed focus and fullness in her upper register, with a warm clarity, that seemed to hang in the air and effortlessly fill the house.”
New York Classical Review, December 2019

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On 29 November Lise makes one of the most anticipated debuts of the season as Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades at the Metropolitan Opera.

                     ©Kyle Johnson for The New York Times

Ahead of her debut, The New York Times wrote a dedicated biographical piece titled ‘Not just a voice. The voice’ and hailing Lise “in a league of her own”.

It quoted, amongst others, Sir Antonio Pappano who recalled a rehearsal in London for Wagner’s Ring: “When she opened her mouth, we were all stunned. The voice has a light in it” while Esa-Pekka Salonen said: “When she sang the first phrase of the Tannhäuser, the Orchestra kind of collectively dropped their jaws: ‘Did that sound really come out of a person?’”

Read the online version of the feature here

In a moving Instagram post, Lise posted a photo of herself 10 years ago, jokingly pretending to sing outside the Met:

“I was in New York for the first time in 2009 visiting my best friend. Of course we wanted to see the opera, but we didn’t have enough money to go inside. As a good tourist, my friend took this photo of me pretending to sing in front of the opera. I’m serious when I say that at that time, I had never in a million years thought I would sing inside.”

Click here to see Lise’s Instagram post

Last Sunday, Davidsen sung at Jessye Norman’s memorial service, held at the Met, alongside Latonia Moore and Renée Fleming. Speakers included Jack Lang (the former French Minister of Culture who chose Norman to sing La Marseillaise in Paris in 1989 on the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day); Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall; and Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Met.

Lise will perform in Queen of Spades at the Metropolitan Opera from 29 November running through to 21 December. Find out more here

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Lise is the cover star of November’s Opera Now.

Inside the 5 page feature, Lise gives insight into her many Wagnerian roles, as well as her upcoming role as Lisa in The Queen of Spades at The Metropolitan Opera and her “meteoric rise to international success”.

Celebrated by Opera Now as “A once in a generation Wagnerian” and “a phenomenon in today’s opera world”, this marks another milestone in Lise’s accomplished career.

 

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Lise’s new recording of Weber: Der Freischütz is out now on Pentatone. You can also purchase from Amazon and Presto.

The recording features the Frankfurt Radio Symphony conducted by Marek Janowski with the original spoken dialogues replaced by short narrations, written by Katharina Wagner and Daniel Weber.

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Lise has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Grieg Academy of Music in Bergen, Norway, the university where she achieved a bachelor’s degree in classical singing in 2010. The highest honour the University of Bergen can give those not employed by the university, honorary doctorates are awarded to distinguished individuals for outstanding work or service in a particular field.

Grieg academy is where Lise developed her understanding about song and immersed herself in Baroque music. She then took a master’s degree at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory, followed by the Opera Academy in Copenhagen.

Read Lise’s interview with University of Bergen here.

This month also sees Lise’s new recording of Weber’s Der Freischütz released on 25 October, available to pre-order here.

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On 15 September, the Enescu Festival presents the Romanian premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes featuring a stellar cast including Lise in her role debut as Ellen Orford. The concert performance will be combined with a visual story, imagined by multimedia director Carmen Lidia Vidu as a graphic film.

The Enescu Festival is held annually in honour of the celebrated Romanian composer George Enescu. It is the largest classical music festival and competition in Romania and one of the largest in Europe. The performance will be streamed live via the Enescu Festival website.

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Lise makes her much anticipated debut at the Bayreuth Festival this summer, starring as Elizabeth in Tannhäuser from 25 July. The new production by Tobias Kratzer is conducted by Valery Gergiev and also stars Stephen Gould in the title role, Elena Zhidkova as Venus and Markus Eiche as Wolfram. Lise made her debut as Elizabeth earlier this season at Opernhaus Zürich and sang the role again at Bayerische Staatsoper. Two of Elizabeth’s arias, “Dich, teure Halle” and “Allmächtige Jungfrau” also feature on her self-titled debut album for Decca, which was released in May to rave reviews and debuted at Number One on the UK Classical charts.

Following her Bayreuth debut Lise returns to the BBC Proms to sing Strauss Op.27 Songs with the Philharmonia, which also featured on her debut album. The highlights continue next season as she sings her first Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes at the Enescu Festival, followed by her Metropolitan Opera debut as Lisa in Queen of Spades. London audiences can see her in a solo recital at the Barbican, a new production of Fidelio opposite Jonas Kaufmann at Covent Garden and in concert appearances with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia.

Performances of Tannhäuser continue until 25 August.

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Lise’s self-titled debut album recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen is out now on Decca Classics. Featuring works including Strauss Four Last Songs and arias from Ariadne auf Naxos and Wagner Tannhäuser, the album celebrates the legacy of song throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The album reached No. 1 in the UK Classical Charts on Friday 7 June which makes Lise the first operatic soprano to top the charts in music history.

An eagerly anticipated release, the recording has already garnered outstanding acclaim:

“…her promise is boundless and the sheer beauty of her voice is enthralling”
Telegraph, May 2019

“This album only reinforces the fact that she is one of the greatest vocal talents to have emerged in recent years, if not decades.”
Gramophone, May 2019

“No emerging soprano has made quite the same stir recently as Lise Davidsen. Here, finally, is her first solo CD. It covers Wagner and Strauss repertoire recorded by many of the greatest voices – and yet several of Davidsen’s versions go straight towards the very top of the playlist. It’s not just the voice – though that is special in itself, gleaming and electric in tone, and buoyed by a seemingly endless supply of breath. It’s also the way she is able to create a still fulcrum even while all Wagner and Strauss’s orchestral manoeuvres churn around her.”
Guardian, May 2019

“Only 32, Davidsen is being hailed as the next great Wagnerian soprano because of her clarion, multi-colored voice with its seemingly unlimited capacity to soar over heavy orchestration.”
Associated Press, May 2019

Of the release, Lise said: “I can only hope this recording brings as much pleasure to listeners as it was for us musicians to make. I would like to thank Esa-Pekka, the musicians of the Philharmonia and everyone at Decca for being such great partners who have supported me at every moment. I look forward to this being the start of a wonderful long-term relationship with them.”

Lise is the first Scandinavian soprano to sign exclusively with Decca Classics since Birgit Nilsson, whose centenary was celebrated in 2018. She is also the first Norwegian singer to join the label since her compatriot Kirsten Flagstad made acclaimed late recordings for Decca in the 1950s, and famously recorded Strauss Four Last Songs at the composer’s request shortly before his death in 1949. The significance of the Philharmonia is also notable; the orchestra performed the premiere of Strauss’s iconic song cycle alongside Flagstad at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1950.

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Lise steps in this week to give two performances with Zubin Mehta and the Staatskapelle Berlin, singing Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs at Berliner Staatsoper on 9 June and the Berliner Philharmonie the following day.

Strauss’ famous songs feature on Lise’s debut album for Decca, which was released on 31 May and met with great reviews, with the Guardian calling the album “stunning” and “worth the wait”. She returns to them again in October with the Orchestre de Paris and conductor François-Xavier Roth.

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Lise’s debut album for Decca Classics is out now. You can also purchase the album from Presto Classical and Amazon. The recording celebrates the legacy of song throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, with Lise singing iconic works including Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs and arias from Ariadne auf Naxos and Tannhäuser.

The much-anticipated release has already been met with great acclaim from the music press:

“Only 32, Davidsen is being hailed as the next great Wagnerian soprano because of her clarion, multi-colored voice with its seemingly unlimited capacity to soar over heavy orchestration.”
Associated Press
, May 2019

“…her promise is boundless and the sheer beauty of her voice is enthralling”
Telegraph
, May 2019

“This album only reinforces the fact that she is one of the greatest vocal talents to have emerged in recent years, if not decades.”
Gramophone
, May 2019

“No emerging soprano has made quite the same stir recently as Lise Davidsen. Here, finally, is her first solo CD. It covers Wagner and Strauss repertoire recorded by many of the greatest voices – and yet several of Davidsen’s versions go straight towards the very top of the playlist. It’s not just the voice – though that is special in itself, gleaming and electric in tone, and buoyed by a seemingly endless supply of breath. It’s also the way she is able to create a still fulcrum even while all Wagner and Strauss’s orchestral manoeuvres churn around her.”
Guardian
, May 2019

Tracklist

From Wagner’s Tannhäuser (Role: Princess Elisabeth)

  1. “Dich, teure Halle”
  2. “Allmächtige Jungfrau” (Elisabeth’s Prayer)

From Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (Role: Ariadne)

  1. “Es gibt ein Reich”

Strauss’ Four Lieder, Op. 27

  1. Ruhe, meine Seele!
  2. Cäcilie
  3. Heimliche Afforderung
  4. Morgen!
  5. Strauss: Wiegenlied / Op.41 No.1
  6. Strauss: Malven / TrV 297, AV 304

Strauss’ Four Last Songs:

  1. Frühling
  2. September
  3. Beim Schlafengehen
  4. Im Abendrot
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