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TEDGlobal 2011

Danielle de Niese: A flirtatious aria

July 12, 2011

Can opera be ever-so-slightly sexy? The glorious soprano Danielle de Niese shows how, singing the flirty "Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss." Which, translated, means, as you might guess: "I kiss so hot." From Giuditta by Frans Lehár; accompanist: Ingrid Surgenor.

Danielle de Niese - Soprano
Her voice described as a “sweet gleaming soprano,” Danielle de Niese breathes new life into opera, astonishing critics and making audiences sit up and listen. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
(Music)
00:16
♫ I don't understand myself, ♫
00:31
♫ why they keep talking of love, ♫
00:34
♫ if they come near me, ♫
00:39
♫ if they look into my eyes and kiss my hand. ♫
00:42
♫ I don't understand myself, ♫
00:48
♫ why they talk of magic, ♫
00:51
♫ that no one withstands, ♫
00:56
♫ if he sees me, if he passes by. ♫
00:58
♫ But if the red light is on ♫
01:07
♫ in the middle of the night ♫
01:13
♫ and everybody listens to my song, ♫
01:16
♫ then it is plain to see. ♫
01:20
♫ My lips, they give so fiery a kiss, ♫
01:30
♫ my limbs, they are supple and white. ♫
01:39
♫ It is written for me in the stars, ♫
01:48
♫ thou shalt kiss, thou shalt love. ♫
01:55
♫ My feet, they glide and float, ♫
02:02
♫ my eyes, they lure and glow. ♫
02:08
♫ And I dance as if entranced, 'cause I know, ♫
02:17
♫ my lips give so fiery a kiss. ♫
02:27
♫ In my veins, ♫
03:16
♫ runs a dancer's blood, ♫
03:19
♫ because my beautiful mother ♫
03:23
♫ was the Queen of dance ♫
03:26
♫ in the gilded Alcazar. ♫
03:29
♫ She was so very beautiful, ♫
03:33
♫ I often saw her in my dreams. ♫
03:36
♫ If she beat the tambourine ♫
03:41
♫ to her beguiling dance, all eyes were glowing admiringly. ♫
03:44
♫ She reawakened in me, ♫
03:54
♫ mine is the same lot. ♫
03:59
♫ I dance like her at midnight ♫
04:02
♫ and from deep within I feel: ♫
04:05
♫ My lips, they give so fiery a kiss, ♫
04:15
♫ my limbs, they are supple and white. ♫
04:24
♫ It is written for me in the stars, ♫
04:33
♫ thou shalt kiss, thou shalt love. ♫
04:41
♫ And I dance as if entranced, 'cause I know, ♫
05:01
♫ my lips give so fiery a kiss. ♫
05:13
(Applause)
05:30
Translator:Katja Tongucer
Reviewer:TED Open Translation

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Danielle de Niese - Soprano
Her voice described as a “sweet gleaming soprano,” Danielle de Niese breathes new life into opera, astonishing critics and making audiences sit up and listen.

Why you should listen

It’s not every day that an opera singer is deemed “cool.” But Danielle de Niese does look and act, at times, more like a pop singer than an opera star. Born in Melbourne of Dutch/Scottish/Sri Lankan parents, de Niese started classical voice lessons at 8, and moved at 10 to Los Angeles to attend a school of performing arts, while working as a television presenter on a teen show called LA Kids. But de Niese always knew she would be a singer. At the startlingly young age of 19 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, singing Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. At 25, de Niese stunned audiences and garnered international acclaim with her sultry portrayal of Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the 2005 Glyndebourne Festival in the UK.

Gracing the world’s great opera stages and an exclusive recording contract with Decca may seem an unlikely fate for a former teen TV host born Down Under, but de Niese embraces contrasts and challenges. She’s already starred in her own BBC4 reality show, Diva Diaries, and soon fans will be seeing her on the big screen, playing her first major film role in the Maria Callas biopic Master Class.

She says: "What I do demands the same kind of expertise as a professional athlete."

The original video is available on TED.com
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