Soprano sex kitten Danielle de Niese had her first San Francisco Opera performance last night as a sexy, perky Susanna in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. She has been described as having a dancer's body, as Too hot to Handel by playboy magazine, and her performances at the Glyndebourne, England, opera house "put the sex in Sussex." She does have a pretty tiny figure to match her big voice, and both were in graceful display last night in a buoyant production conducted with verve and humor from the fortepiano by maestro Luisotti, and directed by John Copley.
Her career took off when she appeared at age nineteen as Barbarina, already in the Marriage of Figaro, at the Met, along icons such as Renée Fleming or Cecilia Bartoli. She grew up in LA, where her parents of Sri Lankan origin settled, yet it's her first time in San Francisco. You can take the girl out of Hollywood: she moved to college to the Mannes school of music in NY and then to the UK, as she married Gus Christie, the Glyndebourne opera chairman. But you can't take Hollywood out of the girl, with screen credits in Ridley Scott's Hannibal and in an upcoming Faye Dunaway feature. She tells us all about it.