Lise Davidsen Releases Her New Album ‘Christmas From Norway’

Lise Davidsen, the most in-demand soprano in the world right now, releases her new album, ‘Christmas From Norway’ via DECCA Classics/ Universal Music. Hailed as “The living, breathing meteor of the current opera world.” (The I Paper), Lise Davidsen’s forthcoming album presents a delightful and personally selected collection of traditional Norwegian Christmas music and classic festive favourites, spreading the warm glow of the Scandinavian Christmas spirit. Reflecting on the project, Lise expresses her long-standing desire to create this album. “For Scandinavians, Christmas serves as a beacon of light in the midst of a lengthy winter. Perhaps that is why we embrace it so wholeheartedly.” says Lise.

The ‘Norwegian Starlight’ (quote) is unstoppable: this season alone Lise has starred in the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms, where she ‘swept all before her’ (The i Paper), alongside cellist and label-mate Sheku Kanneh-Mason, during an event she described as “the closest classical singers and musicians get to a sports event or a rock concert”, as well as joining the rarified group of artists to give a solo recital on the ‘mighty’ Met stage. This September, Lise, joined by pianist James Baillieu, performed a program of soaring arias by Verdi, Wagner, and Tchaikovsky combined with Scandinavian and German songs by Grieg, Sibelius, Strauss, and Schubert: ‘When Lise Davidsen sang the first four notes […] at the Metropolitan Opera last night, all I could think to write down in my notebook was “holy” – and remembering to mind my manners – “cow.” (The New York Times). In addition, she gave her her long-awaited debut at the Wigmore Hall, once again with Baillieu and Musical America have chosen Lise Davidsen as their Artist of the year for 2024. Musical America Awards originated with the 1961 Artist of the Year, Leonard Bernstein. Other recent winners include Andris Nelsons, Yuja Wang and Yannick Nezét-Séguin.

Critics have lauded Lise Davidsen’s soaring soprano voice, comparing it to a “God-given instrument”(The Times), “with multiple shades of colour … midnight ink; honeyed gold; burgundy as burnished as her silk dress.” (The Daily Telegraph) comparing her performances to “watching a Roger Federer serve: there’s elegance, grace, apparently effortless fluidity…” (Bachtrack).

‘Christmas From Norway’ is an album particularly close to Lise’s heart, the holiday season not only being the singer’s favourite time of the year but also embodying her vision for music: breaking barriers and making it accessible to all without losing the craft. “Christmas is how I got into music” she recalls. “We listened to all kinds of music: choral music, popular music, and Norwegian songs.” A time when everyone can feel welcome to experience the beauty of classical music, even if they do not understand it fully at first, as she confessed “I’ve been in that situation myself a million times, wondering what’s going on… I’ve fallen asleep. I’ve not understood things. Classical music is for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to understand right away”.

For this album, the soprano draws inspiration from the classic albums of iconic predecessors on DECCA Classics, such as Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson. The album features beautiful arrangements drawn from the label’s archive, originally made for such legendary singers as Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, and Renée Fleming.

Accompanied by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Soloists’ Choir, and National Opera Children’s Choir, ‘Christmas From Norway’, the album include “songs we all know. I love that Christmas music has such reach’ explains Lise.

Highlights include ‘O Holy Night’ sung in both Swedish and English, featuring Douglas Gamley’s orchestration originally made for Pavarotti, and a beautiful adaptation of ‘Silent Night’ by David Cullen, originally arranged for Kiri Te Kanawa. The timeless ‘Ave Maria’ showcases Leontyne Price’s iconic version recorded with Herbert Von Karajan in Vienna on her legendary Christmas album. “I find those recordings wonderful and so Christmassy” says Lise Davidsen, expressing her admiration for these famous performances that have left an indelible mark on the festive music landscape.
*Daily Telegraph

O Helge natt
Silent Night
Jul, Jul
Deilig er Jorden
Mitt Herte Alltid Vanker
Bach: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
Maria Wiegenlied
Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria
Schlafendes Jesuskind
The First Noel
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Holy Night