Preview: Danielle de Niese and Dunedin Consort
Opera's coolest soprano joins Dunedin Consort for an evening of Handel
***DANIELLE DE NIESE HAS CANCELLED HER PERFORMANCE DUE TO ILLNESS AND WILL BE REPLACED BY LOUISE ALDER***
Although the Edinburgh International Festival plays host to the world's finest visiting musicians, it also welcomes those who are equally fine but right here on the doorstep. Among the names the Festival's home audience will almost certainly recognise is Dunedin Consort, widely acknowledged as Scotland's leading period-performance ensemble. Joining them for Handel is international opera star Danielle de Niese, making her EIF debut.
Although critical opinion of de Niese – 'opera's coolest soprano' says the New York Times – can be read in the usual haunts of classical music's most erudite writers, she, more unusually, can also be found in Hello! magazine announcing her first pregnancy or Sussex Life chatting about her marriage to Gus Christie, chairman of the über-classy Glyndebourne opera house.
Born in Australia, with Sri Lankan, Dutch and, apparently, Scottish roots, de Niese is sassy, stylish and glamorous. She doesn't just sing beautifully, but is an accomplished dancer too, something which Dunedin's music director John Butt values in her artistry.
'Danni is someone who is extroverted and could easily play to the gallery, but she's keen on progressing her career as a singer and the sense of movement and expert physicality which she brings with her comes out in the way she sings,' he says. 'Classical musicians often get the music stuck in their brains, but with her, it's like dealing with limbs in space. You hear the space in the music through the physical movement she is alluding to.' Alongside Handel's cantata 'Il delirio amoroso' which, unlike most opera, means de Niese portrays more than one character, she sings a selection of arias, including the beautiful 'Lascia ch'io pianga' from Rinaldo. Allowing her a chance to draw breath, the instrumentalists of Dunedin also perform two complementary Handel Concerto Grossi from his Op 6.
The Queen's Hall, 13 Aug, 11am, £9–£31.50.