Soprano Danielle de Niese has revealed she will dazzle on the West End after pulling out of Glyndebourne
Excitement is in store for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber fans, after it was announced that the impossibly glamorous opera singer, Danielle de Niese, will be starring as the lead role in a sparkling West End revival of Aspects of Love, produced by Nica Burns, alongside Michael Ball.
News that she would no longer feature as the leading lady at Glyndebourne this summer came as a shock a few weeks ago, when she cited a ‘conflicting engagement’ as her reason for pulling out. Instead, the soprano, who is married to Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s chairman, will dazzle on the West End where she will play sculptor Giullieta, the mistress of Michael Ball’s character, George.
De Niese said, ‘I fell in love with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beautiful score and melodies as a child and now even more so with these gorgeous new orchestrations which are so rich and romantic. I am so excited about playing and exploring my fantastic character, Giulietta, and returning to the West End. Working with Laura Pitt-Pulford and Jamie Bogyo will be great fun and sharing the stage with the inimitable Michael Ball will be beyond amazing!’
The musical, which is named Aspects of Love after the many forms that love takes in the show, tracks the love triangle of three main characters; Giulietta, George and Rose. The musical first premiered on the West End in 1989 and is best known for the song Love Changes Everything. Michael Ball, who originated the role of Alex Dillingham, released the track as a single, which charted for 15 weeks and peaked at No. 2.
Now, 34 years on, the show has been adapted so that Ball will sing the song which became his signature. ‘How could you not let Michael do it? Everyone’s going to want to hear him sing that,’ De Niese said in the Daily Telegraph. She added, ‘It feels like a very contemporary story, which is amazing when you consider it wasn’t written today.’ The show opens on 12 May at the Lyric Theatre.
Following the news that De Niese would no longer be featuring at Glyndebourne, she told the Daily Telegraph that her husband, Gus Christie, ‘understands how rare it is – I don’t know that there are any other people singing in opera who are also having a career in the West End’.
At Glyndebourne, Sally Matthews, 46, is De Niese’s replacement in her previous role of Blanche de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites. She made her debut at the Royal Opera House in 2001, and is widely regarded as one of the foremost lyric sopranos of her generation. Commenting on the role, Matthews told Tatler: ‘it was an offer I couldn’t refuse… it wasn’t easy as I booked elsewhere but we’ve made it work thankfully’.
De Niese, 43, is most famous for her roles in Mozart and Handel, whose arias are on two of her albums. She made her operatic debut when she was only 15 at the Los Angeles Opera, and was the youngest ever singer to participate in the Young Artists Studio at the Metropolitan Opera in 1998, aged 19.
During the winter season 2022, Danielle de Niese carried out a festival of shows that was the operatic equivalent of Leeds, Reading and Glastonbury for a pop superstar: the classical La bohème at the Royal Opera House; the first ever immersive Handel’s Messiah at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; and It’s a Wonderful Life.
On 6 January, Glyndebourne announced that due to funding cuts, it would be unable to tour in 2023, after the Arts Council England (ACE) funding for Glyndenbourne was ‘half the amount that was received during the previous NPO funding period’.
Richard Davidson-Houston, Managing Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘The latest funding settlement from Arts Council England is devastating for many in the opera sector, which was targeted with significant cuts. It risks undermining the delicate ecosystem in which we operate.’