On the Couch with Danielle de Niese

OA The Merry Widow Danielle de Niese - photo by Chris Dunlop Who is Danielle de Niese?
A girl who has big dreams, a hard working girl, a Californian girl, a family girl… I’ve also been called a sponge, a listener, a diva for the digital age, opera’s coolest soprano, a girl with bones made of music (I like that one), mutley, Danni-girl and dude!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would invest all my money into beam-me-up technology so that I could actually materialise anywhere in the world in an instant. This way, I could sing all over the world and still go home to my family every night!

Who inspires you and why?
My mother inspires me because her goodness knows no bounds. She is the epitome of love and dedication. A mother whom I try to emulate both as a person and as a mother to my son. I don’t know how I got so lucky to get her for my mum, I feel like God gave me the jackpot!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am an ambassador for the International Rescue Committee, founded by Albert Einstein, which is dedicated to helping people fleeing conflict all over the world. The plight of refugees has no place in the political arena – it is a humanitarian crisis that should not be used to promote political agendas.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Roccamare. We stay with our dear friend Valerie Solti (the wife of Sir Georg Solti) at Casa Solti in a little private enclave called Roccamare. It’s covered in pines (perfect for me because I love the shade), 30 steps to the sea and 10 into the water from a little straw and tree trunk cabana where we hang up a hammock for the baby to nap. It’s unfussy and unspoiled. A haven for me where I can be in one of my favourite countries (I studied in Italy in the summer of my 18th year) and just relax. The busy pace of life comes to a complete halt at Roccamare.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
That’s easy, I take them to Glyndebourne! Why? Because it is one of the best opera houses in the world and I kind of live there, so it’s incredibly convenient!

What are you currently reading?
The Tale of Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter to my son who demands an encore performance every night, so I know it by heart and it turns out so does he!

What are you currently listening to?
John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Indigo Girls, Lady Gaga (The Cure), Anita Baker (flashback to my jazz class at Tony Bartuccio’s – where my teacher Allana Clarke played her for our warmups), Calvin Harris ft. Katy Perry (Feels) and Coldplay’s Kaleidoscope EP – which is fab!

Happiness is?
Having my husband, son and stepsons, mum, dad and brother in the same place at the same time. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it is magical!

What does the future hold for you?
A lot! A trip to Sri Lanka to sing for the president to commemorate the Independence Day Anniversary, my first Asian Concert Tour, my first Musetta at Royal Opera House in London, a return to Chicago Lyric Opera, more performance of musicals and HOPEFULLY a swift return to Australia to perform again. All carefully paced by I am excited for this next phase of my career and life.

Danielle is currently starring as Hanna Glavari in Opera Australia’s production of The Merry Widow at the Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House until 3 February 2018. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Danielle de Niese – photo by Chris Dunlop