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Lise Davidsen was urged to develop her voice as an operatic soprano whilst studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, a recommendation fully justified in the wake of a string of prestigious award wins, including the Audience Prize at Operalia 2015. Davidsen’s 2016/17 season includes anticipated debuts at Glyndebourne and Wexford.
“Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, aged 28, is the real deal… she sealed her win with singing that was strong and technically flawless, and put her name at the top of the list of young singers of her generation.” Financial Times
“She shows… with a phenomenal, dramatic voice how she can sing such a difficult Aria. She took the public immediately.” Plácido Domingo, Euronews
Young dramatic soprano Lise Davidsen shot to prominence in summer 2015 when she was crowned winner of both the Operalia and the Queen Sonja competitions. Her breakthrough performances won her the First Prize, the Birgit Nilsson Award and the Audience Prize at the Operalia competition in London as well as the prize for the best performance of Norwegian music and the Ingrid Bjoner Scholarship at the Queen Sonia International Music Competition. She is also a triple winner at the 2015 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Amsterdam and a recipient of many awards, including the HSBC Aix-en-Provence Laureate, Statoil Talent Bursary Award, Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Danish Singers Award 2014 and the Kirstin Flagstad Award 2015.
Davidsen has attracted serious attention since the outset of her musical training. A 2014 graduate of the Opera Academy in Copenhagen, she has studied under Susanna Eken, previously gaining a degree from Grieg Academy of Music in Bergen. She made her Royal Danish Opera debut in the 2012/13 season as the Dog and Owl in The Cunning Little Vixen. She has since returned to sing Emilia Otello and Rosalinde Die Fledermaus, and was awarded the Reumert Talentpris. In the same season she was a part of the Mozart -residency at Aix-en-Provence, where she was instantly invited back the year after to work with Waltraud Meier for the residency, A Tribute to Patrice Chèreau.
On the concert platform she has sung in Verdi’s Requiem at the Berlin Philharmonie with the Deutsch Skandinavisches Jugendorchestrer under the baton of Andreas Peer Kähler. She was also part of the opening of the Kirsten Flagstad Hall in Hamar, Norway, with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra conducted by Olaf Henzold. She has sung Wagner’s Wesendonk Lieder with the Randers Chamber Orchestra as well as appearing in Bucharest under the musical direction of Chrstian Badea singing Vier letzte Lieder.
The 2015/16 season included Freia in a concert performance of Das Rheingold with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Vedernikov, as well as two notable house debuts, at Bavarian State Opera as Ortlinde Die Walküre and at Frankfurt Opera for its Ring Cycle in summer 2016 where she will sing Freia (Das Rheingold) and Third Norn (Götterdämmerung).
Looking further ahead, she will make her debut in leading roles with Opern Zurich, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and The Metropolitan Opera.
Described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘in a class of his own’ James Baillieu has been the prize-winner of the Wigmore Hall Song Competition, Das Lied International Song Competition, Kathleen Ferrier and Richard Tauber Competitions. He was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2010 and in 2012 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust Award.
James has given solo and chamber recitals throughout Europe and further afield. He collaborates with a wide range of singers and instrumentalists from Lawrence Power, Jack Liebeck, the Elias and Heath Quartets to Sir Thomas Allen, Kiri te Kanawa, Annette Dasch, Pumeza Matshikiza, Allan Clayton, Gerard Collett, Jared Holt, Eri Nakamura, Catherine Wyn Rogers, Jacques Imbrailo, Sarah-Jane Brandon, Kishani Jayasinghe, Ailish Tynan and Mark Padmore. Festivals and venues have included Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Musikverein, Bridgewater Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin, Festpillene i Bergen, Spitalfields, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Bath, City of London, Aix-en-Provence, Verbier, St Magnus, Derry, Norfolk & Norwich and Brighton Festivals. As a soloist he has appeared in the Nottingham and Leeds International Series as well as at the Royal Festival Hall with the English Chamber Orchestra.
An experienced coach, James has worked regularly at the George Solti Accademia di Bel Canto in Italy (with Mirella Freni and Leo Nucci), was a repertory professor for the Encuentro de musica y Academia de Santander in Spain, has worked with Gerhard Schulz at the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove and continues to coach for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He is an alumnus of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, a scholar for the Samling Foundation, participated in the European Liedforum in Berlin and worked with Thomas Quastoff at the Verbier Festival Academy.
Engagements this season include an eleven concert series at the Wigmore Hall Introducing James Baillieu with Adam Walker, Jonathan McGovern, Ailish Tynan, Julian Pregardien, Henk Neven, Iestyn Davies, and Allan Clayton amongst others. He will also appear with John Mark Ainsley at the Oxford Lieder Festival and in a European tour with Benjamin Appl as part of the ECHO Rising Starts series.
Born in South Africa, James studied at the University of Cape Town and the Royal Academy of Music in London with Michael Dussek, Malcolm Martineau and Kathryn Stott. In 2007 he graduated with a Dip.RAM and received the Christian Carpenter Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements. He was appointed a Hodgson Junior Fellow in 2007, a Professor of Piano Accompaniment in 2011, and awarded an ARAM in 2012.