Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Review: Star Light, Star Bright – Here Comes Norway's LISE DAVIDSEN, One of the MET STARS IN CONCERT

Article Pixel

Davidsen's Recital Can Be Heard On Demand Through September 9

BWW Review: Star Light, Star Bright – Here Comes Norway's LISE DAVIDSEN, One of the MET STARS IN CONCERT
Davidsen in QUEEN OF SPADES.
Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera

By the time Lise Davidsen appeared in the Met's December revival of Tchaikovsky's QUEEN OF SPADES--also known as PIQUE DAME or PIKOVAYA DAMA or LA DAME DE PIQUE--the company had already scheduled the soprano for Eva in DIE MEISTERSINGER, the title roles in FIDELIO and ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, Chrysothemis in ELEKTRA and the Marschallin in DER ROSENKAVALIER. They had the faith, but would she have the goods?

To put it mildly, boy, did she live up to her star billing!

One opera they didn't schedule was TANNHAUSER, with its spectacular aria for Elisabeth--"Dich, teure Halle"--no doubt for the lack of a good Tannhauser rather than for Davidsen, who has made the aria something of a calling card, having sung it when she won "The Queen Sonja International Music Competition" and Operalia competition, both in 2015.

In fact, she used the aria to kick off her recital at Norway's Oscarshall palace, the summer home of Norway's king and queen, which can be heard on demand through September 9. (Her accompanist on piano was the splendid James Baillieu.) This was the latest installment in the MET STARS IN CONCERT series and, frankly, I found "Dich" a hard act to follow.

BWW Review: Star Light, Star Bright – Here Comes Norway's LISE DAVIDSEN, One of the MET STARS IN CONCERT
Davidsen in QUEEN.
Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera

Not that she was anything less than wonderful in any of the selections on the program. Of the Scandinavian songs she chose, I preferred her Sibelius, "Saf, saf, susa" (with its changing dynamics providing a true showcase for her skills) and "Var det en drom?" to those of Grieg, "Varen" and "En svane."

I felt her particularly compelling in her Strauss selections, whether songs or aria. Her rendition of Ariadne's "Es gibt ein Reich," was superb, with thrilling high notes and power to match; as was the dramatic warmth of "Ruhe, meine Seele" (which includes the phrase "These are overwhelming times"); or all the subtleties and pensiveness called for in the omnipresent "Morgen." Her "Heimliche Aufforderung" was simply gorgeous.

BWW Review: Star Light, Star Bright – Here Comes Norway's LISE DAVIDSEN, One of the MET STARS IN CONCERT
Davidsen and Yusif Eyvazov in QUEEN.
Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera

The other opera arias included in the program, "Sola perduta, abbandonata" from MANON LESCAUT, BALLO's "Morro, ma prima in grazia," and Elisabeth's other aria from TANNHAUSER, "Allmachte'ge Jungfrau," made me long to hear her in staged opera once again. Here's one more reason to wish for the end of COVID-19 and a return to a more normal life!

At 32, Davidsen's still a developing artist--one who has come amazingly far but also provides the hope that there is much more to come.

The soprano's concert, which ended with Lerner & Loewe's "I Could Have Danced All Night" from MY FAIR LADY, is available on demand through September 9. For tickets and more information about the other concerts in the series, including Joyce DiDonato's recital on September 12, see the Met's website.

The Program

"Dich, teure Halle" and "Allmacht'ge Jungfrau" from Wagner's TANNHAUSER

"Ved Rondane," Op. 33, No. 9, "En Svane" Op. 25, No. 2 "Varen," Op. 33, No. 2 by Edvard Grieg

"Morrò, ma prima in grazia" from Verdi's UN BALLO IN MASCHERA

"Säf, säf, susa," Op. 36 and "Var det en dröm?" Op. 37 by Jean Sibelius

"Es gibt ein Reich" from R. Strauss's ARIADNE AUF NAXOS

"Ruhe, meine Seele!" Op. 27, No. 1, "Caecilie," Op. 27, No. 2, "Heimliche Aufforderung," Op. 27 No. 3 and "Morgen!" Op. 27, No. 4 by Richard Strauss

"Sola, perduta, abbandonata" from Puccini's MANON LESCAUT

"Johnny" by Benjamin Britten

"Heia, heia, in den Bergen ist mein Heimatland" from Kalman's operetta DIE CSÁRDÁSFÜRSTIN

"O lovely night!" by Landon Ronald

"When I have sung my song to you" by Ernest Charles

"I Could Have Danced All Night" from Lerner and Loewe's musical, MY FAIR LADY



Related Articles View More Opera Stories

From This Author Richard Sasanow