Lise Davidsen is the first Scandinavian soprano to sign exclusively to the label since Birgit Nilsson, whose centenary was celebrated in 2018. She is also the first Norwegian singer to join Decca Classics since her compatriot Kirsten Flagstad made her acclaimed late recordings for Decca in the 1950s, and famously recorded Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs at the composer’s request shortly before his death in 1949. The significance of the Philharmonia is also notable; the orchestra performed the premiere of Strauss’s iconic song cycle alongside Flagstad at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1950.
Of the release, Davidsen said: “I can only hope this recording brings as much pleasure to listeners as it was for us musicians to make. I would like to thank Esa-Pekka, the musicians of the Philharmonia and everyone at Decca for being such great partners who have supported me at every moment. I look forward to this being the start of a wonderful long-term relationship with them."
In spring 2019, Davidsen makes her debut as Elisabeth in a new production of Tannhäuser at Opernhaus Zürich, a role she takes to Bayreuth in July and August under the baton of Valery Gergiev. In the autumn, she will debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, performing the role of Lisa in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. Davidsen performed at the Royal Opera House for the first time in 2018 in Wagner’s Ring Cycle and earned glowing reviews for her solo Wigmore Hall recital in 2017. Davidsen sung the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne Festival in June 2017, making her debut at the summer opera festival to great acclaim.
Davidsen grew up in Stokke, a rural town in south-eastern Norway, and began studying guitar and singing at the age of 15. She achieved her bachelor’s degree in 2010 from the Grieg Academy of Music in Bergen and later graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Music and the Opera Academy in Copenhagen. She shot to prominence in the summer of 2015 when she was crowned winner of the Queen Sonja singing competition in her native Norway. Davidsen went on to win three awards – the First Prize, Birgit Nilsson Award and Audience Prize – at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition, where she was hailed as “the real deal” by the Financial Times.
Since her breakthrough, Lise has made a series of acclaimed opera debuts, including: Medea by Cherubini at the Wexford Festival, Ortlinde in Die Walküre at Bavarian State Opera, Agathe in a new production of Der Freischütz at Zürich Opera House, Isabella in Das Liebesverbot at Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, and the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos at Wiener Staatsoper in 2017 and the following year at Aix-en-Provence Festival.
The anticipation building around this young singer is truly something to behold. As Gramophone affirmed following her ‘Young Artist of the Year’ award win in 2018: “Davidsen’s is a name to remember, and a voice – once heard – you won’t forget.”