Modern-day opera star Danni de Niese is Tatler’s cover star

By Derek Momodu
14:36, 26 APR 2024

Tatler went to 600 year-old country estate Glyndebourne to visit the woman behind the summer’s best fixture, as the legendary festival prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary and her appearance in The Merry Widow.

This month’s issue hails Danielle the queen of the scene, as the power-woman at the centre of Glyndebourne, the beautiful Sussex country house where she lives with her husband, Gus Christie and two children. While Gus runs the festival, Danni, a woman with limitless energy, is the jewel in its crown.

It is she who is the performer at the very heart of the festival this year as it celebrates its 90th anniversary. She will star as Hanna in Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow, following in the footsteps of the famous Lily Elsie, who played the role in the first production at Daly’s Theatre in 1907, and also appeared on the cover of Tatler.

Now, 117 years on, Danielle de Niese will take to the stage, showing opera is just as relevant today. Beyond her family life and the house, she shares wide ranging insights about her journey to stardom, revealing how she first discovered she had a ‘special’ talent as a child, her down-to-earth upbringing, and the moment her career took off after her mesmerizing performance in Giulio Cesare in 2005.

What is it like to run an opera festival, which like Ascot and Wimbledon, is a must of the English social season and a house party all summer? This year, Tatler was invited inside to find out more about this dazzling dynasty and the opera diva at the heart of the scene.

On hosting the creative teams for the festival at her home, Danni said: ‘Part of the ethos of Glyndebourne has always been that the creative teams stay in the house,’ she explains. ‘That gives them, like me, a 10-second commute to work and it breeds creative energy. The inspiration doesn’t stop at 5.30pm when everybody finishes rehearsal, because they wander back into the house, have a drink and see each other back downstairs at 7.30pm for dinner, and cook something up”.

On singing, she added: “All my friends could sing, dance, act – they were all quite good, actually. But nobody could sing like me. It was different – special. I drew a picture of myself, standing on stage alone in a big, puffy dress in a big theatre with big wings and curtains and I was like, “That’s what I want to be”’. See the full feature in the June issue of Tatler available via digital download and on newsstands from Thursday 2 May. © Photography by Luc Braquet.


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