Since winning Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and Queen Sonja competitions in 2015, Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen has taken the classical music world by storm, with resounding debuts in venues such as Bayreuth, Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne Festivals, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Wigmore Hall, Wiener Staatsoper, the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall and Zurich Opera House. ‘It’s been a long time since a singer has generated as much buzz,’ wrote Gramophone in its review of her debut album for Decca, which debuted a number one in the UK Classical music charts. Released on 31 May 2019, her recordings of music by Strauss and Wagner inspired the magazine to declare that ‘she is one of the greatest vocal talents to have emerged in recent years, if not decades’.
Davidsen continues her meteoric rise in the 19/20 season with several anticipated debuts and appearances: her company debut with Metropolitan Opera as Lisa Queen of Spades; a role debut as Leonore Fidelio with Yannick Nezet Seguin and Opéra de Montreal and at Royal Opera House in a new production conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano; and her return to Bayreuth in summer 2020 to star as Sieglinde in their eagerly awaited new Ring production, as well as reprising the role of Elisabeth Tannhäuser. Further concert appearances include Ellen Orford Peter Grimes at the Enescu Festival; Vier Letzte Lieder with Orchestre de Paris, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Gianandrea Noseda and the Wiener Symphoniker and with Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic; Sieglinde Die Walküre with Fabio Luisi and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra; Beethoven’s ‘Ah, Perfido!’ with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Mahler’s Knaben Wunderhorn with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philarmonia Orchestra; as well as solo recitals in London (Barbican), Oslo, Copenhagen and Bergen.
Last season Davidsen took on her first major Wagner role, Elisabeth Tannhäuser which she performed at Opernhaus Zürich, Bayerische Staatsoper and in a triumphant debut at the Bayreuth Festival where she was hailed by the international press as a “voice once in a century”. Further appearances included a role debut as Lisa Queen of Spades at Oper Stuttgart; the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos at Aix-en-Provence Festival; Wiener Staatsoper and Glyndebourne Festival; Agathe in a new production of Der Freischütz at Opernhaus Zürich; Cherubini’s Medea at Wexford Festival; Santuzza Cavalleria Rusticana and Sancta Susanna in Oslo; and Isabella Das Liebesverbot at Teatro Colon. Other engagements include her house debuts with Bavarian State Opera as Ortlinde Die Walküre and at Frankfurt Opera for its Ring Cycle both in 2016.
Recent highlights on the concert platform include a highly anticipated return to the BBC Proms with Verdi’s Requiem together with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrés Orozco Estrada as well appearing at the Edinburgh International Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko and a programme of Strauss songs. Further performances throughout the season include Vier letzte Lieder with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Stavanger Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; an open-air concert with Oslo Philharmonic; her debut as Sieglinde Die Walküre with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis and with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Edo de Waart and Wesendonck Lieder and Rückert-Lieder with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. In 17/18 she was an Artist in Residence with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra where her appearances included an open-air concert, Verdi’s Requiem and Wesendonck Lieder as well as recital performances. Other recent concert engagements include her BBC Proms debut with John Storgards and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Strauss Op. 27 songs with the Oslo Philharmonic; Verdi’s Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Danish National Symphony Orchestra; and Deutsch Skandinavisches Jugendorchestrer and Vier letzte Lieder with Oslo Philharmonic; George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Bucharest; and Copenhagen Philharmonic.
Lise Davidsen’s talent has attracted serious attention since the outset of her musical training. A 2014 graduate of the Opera Academy in Copenhagen, she has studied under Susanna Eken, previously gaining a degree from Grieg Academy of Music in Bergen. In 2015 she was crowned winner of both the Operalia and the Queen Sonja competitions. Her breakthrough performances won her the First Prize, the Birgit Nilsson Award and the Audience Prize at the Operalia competition in London as well as the prize for the best performance of Norwegian music and the Ingrid Bjoner Scholarship at the Queen Sonia International Music Competition. She is also a triple winner at the 2015 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Amsterdam and a recipient of many awards, including the HSBC Aix-en-Provence Laureate, Statoil Talent Bursary Award, Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Danish Singers Award 2014 and the Kirstin Flagstad Award 2015. In 2018, Davidsen was presented with the prestigious Young Artist of the Year Award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards.