Raised in Melbourne and Los Angeles, soprano Danielle de Niese was already a veteran singer by the time she began her studies at Mannes College of Music. She had made her operatic debut with the Los Angeles Opera at 15, and won several music scholarships, not to mention a local Emmy Award, while in high school. De Niese was the youngest entrant to date in the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, making her Met debut in 1998 in Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Jonathan Miller. She was judged by Terry Teachout of the New York Daily News as "…clearly headed for bigger and better things."
Although she was an ensemble member of the Broadway cast of Les Misérables while still a student, de Niese is most comfortable in the Baroque and Classical repertoire, which she began studying while a teenager. Her recordings for Decca and her stage roles are rooted in the music of those eras. Even the contemporary piece written for her appearance on the soundtrack of the Ridley Scott film Hannibal has similarly clear, melodic lines. Her first solo album, Handel Arias (2007), was extremely well received. She has appeared notably as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne in 2005; in several BBC television programs; and, in early 2012, as Ariel in The Enchanted Island, a new pastiche opera based on the music of Baroque masters produced by the Metropolitan Opera.