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Customer Reviews

An Unfortunate First Recital Disc

The enthusiasm that has swirled around this soprano for the past few years has, for the most part, been warranted: her only previous recorded forays — in a strictly classical sense — have been DVDs showcasing her winsome vivaciousness and keen dramatic sense in postmodern stagings of Baroque operas (her Cleopatra in Glyndebourne's Giulio Cesare is a delight, as her Hébe in Les Indes Galantes). So perhaps it's the expectation of the well-rounded on-screen artist transferred onto disc that makes this album such a disappointment. De Niese's voice comes off as unevenly produced, even betraying something of a wobble, and the slightly stringent, agile, and even-toned quality that she has shown seems to have been produced-out of this effort. Whereas on DVD she seems capable of seductive piano singing and soulful melismas, here she seems to push for dramatic effect to an extent that there are moments of wayward pitch. One gets the distinct feeling that, in an effort to overcompensate for the lack of a visual medium by which to beguile us, De Niese's problem simply amounts to a vocal overemphasis — she needs to learn to control her energy in order to become a "phonogenic," not ham it up even more. The material selected seems to be a laundry list of the Handel arias that people EXPECT to encounter in a Baroque singer's debut recital disc: one would be forgiven for thinking that this artist has more personality than the music in display here. This disc is, similarly, an unfortunate nadir for the esteemable William Christie & Les Arts Florissants, who — one imagines — underwent some market-driven armtwisting before agreeing to involvement.

Poor Breath Control

She has nice tonality but her breath control, expecially for Handel, is bad. There are better singers, maybe not as pretty, that can do these arias that can really thrill - such as Joan Sutherland, so I would advise spending your money on those recordings and skip this one.


I don't know what is happening to the vocal/opera world... but if this is what the future looks like, then I am really worried. Ms. de Niese should continue to work on her breath support, diction, and tone down the nasality. I think most people who like Charllote Church and Sarah Brightman will (unfortunately) be drawn to this recording. There are much better recordings of Handel arias. As mentioned before, Joan Sutherland would be a good start. Don't waste your time or money here.


Born: April 11, 1979 in Melbourne, Australia

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Raised in Melbourne and Los Angeles, soprano Danielle de Niese was already a veteran singer by the time she began her studies at Mannes College of Music. She had made her operatic debut with the Los Angeles Opera at 15, and won several music scholarships, not to mention a local Emmy Award, while in high school. De Niese was the youngest entrant to date in the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, making her Met debut in 1998 in Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Jonathan Miller....
Full Bio

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Handel: Arias (Bonus Version), Danielle de Niese
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