First Look at Danielle de Niesse For It’s A Wonderful Life

The English National Opera has released a first look image of the soprano, as she prepares to make her ENO operatic debut at the London Coliseum.

(c)Genevieve Girling

This November will see Australian-American actress Danielle de Niese makes her ENO operatic debut at the London Coliseum, as part of the cast for the upcoming UK premiere of  It’s a Wonderful Life.

Composed by Jake Heggie in 2016 with the Libretto by Gene Scheer, this operatic adaptation of the 1946 film will run at the London Coliseum from the 25th November until the 10th December.

A blended tale of fantasy and drama loosely based on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey, a humble man of humble origins in a humble small town. Having sacrificed many of his own dreams to help others around him, George is driven to breakdown, only to be shown by his guardian angel how his life enriches his community in ways he could never imagine.

Danielle de Niese stars in the role of Clara, George Bailey’s guardian angel. De Niese regularly appears on the world’s most prestigious opera and concert stages, and is a prolific recording artist, TV personality and philanthropist. She recently starred in the feature film of Poulenc’s one-women opera, La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice), alongside Sir Antonio Pappano which premiered in Spring 2022 on BBC Two along with international cinematic release. 

She is joined in the production by Frederick Ballentine as George Bailey, Jennifer France as Mary Hatch Bailey, Donovan Singletary as Harry Bailey, Gweneth Ann Rand as Mother Bailey, Ronald Samm as Uncle Billy Bailey, Michael Mayes as Mr. Potter, and as the Angel Quartet is Keri Fuge, Idunnu Münch, Zwakele Tshabalala and Ossian Huskinson, Alex Otterburn as Ernie, Segomotso Shupinyaneng as Helen Bailey, and the award-winning ENO Chorus. 

Talking about being involved with the production Danielle said: “I’m thrilled to make my operatic debut at the ENO and to be involved in the operatic adaptation of one of the most beloved American Classic films which starred actor Jimmy Stewart. I was the first recipient of the Jimmy Stewart Vocal Scholarship at 16 years of age, so it’s a full-circle moment to bring this character from his iconic film to life. This opera has a dream-like quality and in these difficult times, the story will remind us what life is all about: not the riches of your wallet but the richness of your character. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Christmas season.”

Directing and Choreographing It’s a Wonderful Life is Aletta Collins, with Nicole Paiement conducting the ENO Orchestra. Giles Cadle is the Set Designer, Gabrielle Dalton is the Costume Designer, Andreas Fuchs is the Lighting Designer, Nick Lidster is the Sound Designer. 

You can book your tickets here.

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