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Danielle de Niese

Danielle de Niese, opera singer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Danielle de Niese is a soprano who has taken starring roles with leading opera companies around the world. She was born in Melbourne, Australia, to Sri Lankan parents, and at the age of eight she won a national TV talent show, singing a pop medley. When she was ten, her parents moved the family to Los Angeles, so that she could pursue her dream of becoming an opera singer. She also presented a TV programme, L.A. Kids, for which she won an Emmy award at the age of 16.

She made her professional operatic debut when she was 15 with the Los Angeles Opera, appeared briefly in Les Miserables on Broadway, and first performed with the Metropolitan Opera in New York at the age of 19, taking the role of Barbarina in a production of The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Jonathan Miller.

In 2005 she came to more widespread public attention with her performances as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne, stepping into the role at the last minute when the original Cleopatra was unwell.

She first appeared at the Royal Opera House in London four years later, and her international stage career now ranges from baroque operas to new works. She has also presented a number of television programmes about music. She married Gus Christie, the grandson of Glyndebourne’s founder, in 2009.

Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Sarah Taylor

Available now

37 minutes

Last on

Fri 21 Sep 2018 09:00

Music Played

  • New Radicals

    You Get What You Give

    • Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too.
    • MCA.
    • 2.

    • Barbra Streisand


      • A Star Is Born (soundtrack).
      • Columbia.
      • 6.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Mi Tradi (quell'alma ingrate K540C)

    Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa. Orchestra: Orchestre du Theatre National de l'Opera, Paris. Conductor: Lorin Maazel.
    • A Portrait of Kiri Te Kanawa.
    • CBS.
    • 6.
  • Hamilton Grandison & De Paur Chorus

    Christmas Present For Sallie

    • Calypso Christmas.
    • Seasonal.
    • 6.
  • Frances Ruffelle & Michael Ball

    A Little Fall of Rain

    • Les Miserables - The Original 1985 London Cast Recording.
    • First Night Records.
    • 6.
  • Coldplay

    Swallowed in the Sea

    • X&Y.
    • Parlophone.
    • 11.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra no. 2 in C minor op. 18 (Adagio Sostenuto)

    Performer: Lang Lang. Orchestra: Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre.
    • Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 Paganini Rhapsody.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
    • 2.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd, Cantata BWV 208 - Schafe können sicher

    Performer: Danielle de Niese. Orchestra: The English Concert. Conductor: Harry Bicket.
    • Beauty of the Baroque.
    • Decca.
    • 13.

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


    A slide projector with all the photos she’s ever taken of her loved ones


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Danielle de Niese
Producer Sarah Taylor


  • Sun 16 Sep 2018 11:15
  • Fri 21 Sep 2018 09:00
  • Fri 21 Sep 2018 09:44

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