Soprano Danielle de Niese has distinguished herself in the early-music repertoire, but her approach to her career is totally twenty-first century. By Dan Rosenbaum
As Diane Paulus, who directed de Niese in Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea at Chicago Opera Theater in 2004, puts it, "Danielle's setting the new standard for opera singers. She looks fantastic. She's an incredible singer. But she's also a consummate actress, eager to portray a character from the inside out. On top of that, she can gab about the latest pop songs and brings that connection to contemporary culture with her. And she'll stand on her head if you ask her!"