Dessay in 2008
19 April 1965
|Alma mater||Conservatoire de Bordeaux|
École d'art lyrique of the Paris Opera
|Known for||Operatic soprano|
Laurent Naouri (m. 1994)
She received wide acclaim in roles such as Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann, the title role in Lakmé, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. In her later career, she took on 19-century bel canto roles such as Amina in La sonnambula, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Violetta in La traviata and added baroque music to her repertoire. Since retiring from opera stage on 15 October 2013 she has pursued a career in theatre and in concert, where she now performs, besides classical, genres such as jazz and chansons.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Awards and honours
- 5 Opera roles
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Born Nathalie Dessaix in Lyon, she dropped the silent "h" in her first name in honor of Natalie Wood when she was in grade school and subsequently simplified the spelling of her surname. In her youth, she had intended to be a ballet dancer and then an actress. She discovered her talent for singing while taking acting classes and shifted her focus to music. Dessay was encouraged to study voice at the Conservatoire de Bordeaux and gained experience as a chorister at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse. She won first prize at the first edition of competition "Voix Nouvelles", run by France Télécom, followed by a year's study at the "École d'art lyrique" of the Paris Opera, where she sang Elisa in Mozart's Il re pastore. She entered the International Mozart Competition at the Vienna State Opera, winning first prize.
Dessay was quickly approached by a number of theatres and subsequently sang Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos and Zaide at the Opéra National de Lyon and the Opéra Bastille, as well as Adele in Die Fledermaus at Grand Théâtre de Genève.
In April and May 1992 at the Opéra Bastille, she sang the role of Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann with José van Dam. The Roman Polanski production was not well received, but it began the road to stardom for her. Soon after her Hoffmann run, Dessay joined the Vienna State Opera as Blonde in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In December 1993, she was asked to replace Cheryl Studer in one of the three female roles in a production of Hoffmann at the Vienna State Opera.
After she attended a performance where Barbara Bonney had sung Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier under Carlos Kleiber, she was cast in the same role with another conductor. Blonde in Die Entführung and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos became her best known and most often played roles.
In October, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York in the role of Fiakermilli in Strauss's Arabella. One on the performances was aired on PBS on 1 November 1995. She returned there in September 1997 as Zerbinetta and in February 1998 as Olympia. In 1997 she sang the title role in Stravinsky's The Nightingale conducted by Pierre Boulez and staged by Stanislas Nordey at the Théâtre du Châtelet. In 1999 she took on the role of Amina in La sonnambula at the Lausanne Opera.
In 2000 Dessay was Olympia in Robert Carsen's new production of Les contes d'Hoffmann, premiering on 22 March, at Opéra Bastille. She portrayed Ophélie in Hamlet at the Théâtre du Capitole in April and the Théâtre du Châtelet in June. In June, she performed Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute at the Vienna State Opera and subsequently opened new Jérôme Savary's staging of Les contes d'Hoffmann at the Chorégies d'Orange. She took up the role of Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Grand Théâtre de Genève in October and then interpreted the Queen of the Night for the last time at Palais Garnier in performances from 27 November to 6 January.
During the 2001–2002 season in Vienna, Dessay began to experience vocal difficulties and had to be replaced in almost all of the performances of La sonnambula. Subsequently, she was forced to cancel several other performances, including the French version of Lucia di Lammermoor in Lyon and a Zerbinetta at the Royal Opera House in London. She withdrew from the stage and underwent surgery to remove a vocal cord nodule in July 2002.
In the summer of 2003, she gave her first US recital in Santa Fe. She was so attracted to New Mexico in general and to Santa Fe in particular that the Santa Fe Opera quickly rearranged its schedule to feature her in a new production of La sonnambula during the 2004 season.
In the 2004-2005 season, she withdrew from Ariadne auf Naxos as Zerbinetta and cancelled concert performances at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. She went on surgery to remove a polyp on her vocal cord and began vocal training subsequently.
Return to operaEdit
Dessay returned to stage in benefit concert at the Opéra de Montréal on 8 May 2005. Later, she took part in Haydn's The Creation at the Festival de Saint-Denis. She returned to Santa Fe in the 2006 season as Pamina in The Magic Flute and gave her first performance in the role of Violetta in La traviata there on 3 July 2009 in a production staged by Laurent Pelly. Her husband, Laurent Naouri, appeared as her lover's father, Giorgio Germont.
Dessay's 2006/2007 season schedule included Lucia di Lammermoor and La sonnambula in Paris, La fille du régiment directed by Laurent Pelly in London and Vienna, and a Manon in Barcelona. She appeared in two new productions during the 2007–08 season at the Met: as Lucia on opening night, and in a reprise of the London production of La fille du régiment. In January 2009 she sang the part of Mélisande in a much acclaimed production of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande at the Theater an der Wien. On 2 March 2009, Dessay sang the title role in La sonnambula at the New York Metropolitan Opera. It was the first new production of the opera at the Met since Joan Sutherland sang the title role in 1963.
2013 saw the release of Becoming Traviata, a documentary film about Dessay's role as Violetta in a production of La traviata, directed by Jean-François Sivadier, with musical direction by Louis Langrée. The documentary chronicles the development of the production of Verdi's opera for the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France and subsequently staged for her at the Vienna State Opera.
In an interview published on 4 October 2013 in Le Figaro, Dessay announced that the final operatic performance of her career would be in the title role of Massenet's Manon at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse on 15 October 2013. She said she intended to continue her performing career as a dramatic actress and chansonnière.
In May 2014 she released a new album, Rio-Paris.
Awards and honoursEdit
- 33345 Nataliedessay, asteroid
- Singer of the Year (Artiste lyrique de l'année) in the Victoires de la musique classique (1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005)
- 2002: Prize of Music of the Simone and Cino Del Duca Foundation from the Académie des Beaux-Arts
- 2008: Laurence Olivier Award for her Covent Garden performance of La fille du régiment
- 2008: Opera News Award
- 2008: Prize in honorem from Académie Charles-Cros for her entire career
- 2010: Austrian Kammersängerin
- 2011: Chevalier of the Legion of Honour
- 2011: Laurent-Perrier Grand Century Prize
- 2015: Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
- Elisa, Il re pastore (Mozart)
- A little girl, Joseph (Méhul)
- Barbarina, Le nozze di figaro (Mozart)
- Bettina, Don Procopio (Bizet)
- Néméa, Si j'étais roi (Adam)
- Madame Herz, Der Schauspieldirektor (Mozart)
- Zaide, Zaide (Mozart)
- Adele, Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss II)
- Olympia, Les contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach)
- Violante, La prova di un'opera seria (Gnecco)
- Blonde, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Mozart)
- Zerbinetta, Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss)
- Italian Singer, Capriccio (Strauss)
- Sophie, Der Rosenkavalier (Strauss)
- Fiakermilli, Arabella (Strauss)
- Queen of the Night, Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
- Lakmé, Lakmé (Delibes)
- Ophélie (Ophelia), Hamlet (Thomas)
- Aminta, Die schweigsame Frau (Strauss)
- Nightingale (Rossignol), The Nightingale (Stravinsky)
- Eurydice, Orphée aux enfers (Offenbach)
- Tytania, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Britten)
- Amina, La sonnambula (Bellini)
- Aspasia, Mitridate, re di Ponto (Mozart)
- Morgana, Alcina (Handel)
- Hébé/Fatime/Zima, Les Indes galantes (Rameau)
- Konstanze, Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Mozart)
- Lucia, Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
- La Musica, L'Orfeo (Monteverdi)
- Manon, Manon (Massenet)
- Juliette, Roméo et Juliette (Gounod)
- Pamina, Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)
- Marie, La fille du régiment (Donizetti)
- Mélisande, Pelléas et Mélisande (Debussy)
- Violetta, La traviata (Verdi)
- Musetta, La bohème (Puccini)
- Cleopatra, Giulio Cesare (Handel)
- Antonia, Les contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach)
Solo recitals and collaborationsEdit
- Mozart: Concert Arias (1995)
- French Opera Arias (1996)
- The EMI Centenary Gala at Glyndebourne (1997)
- Vocalises (1998)
- Mozart Heroines (2000)
- Handel: Arcadian Duets (2002)
- French Opera Arias (2003)
- Claude Nougaro: La note bleue (2004)
- Strauss: Amor (Opera Scenes and Lieder) (2004)
- Delirio: Handel Cantatas (2006)
- Italian Opera Arias (2007)
- David Linx: Changing Faces (2007)
- The Miracle of the Voice (2006, compilation)
- Lamenti (2008)
- Bach: Cantatas (2009)
- Mad Scenes (2009, compilation)
- Quatuor Ebène: Fiction (2010)
- Handel: Cleopatra (2011)
- Une fête Baroque (2012, live)
- Debussy: Clair de lune (2012)
- Alexandre Tharaud: Le Boeuf sur le toit (2012)
- Rio – Paris (2014)
- De l'opéra à la chanson (2014, compilation)
- Fiançailles pour rire: Mélodies françaises (2015)
- Baroque (2015, compilation)
- Pictures of America (2016)
- Schubert: Lieder (2017)
- Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (2017)
- Méhul: La Légende de Joseph en Egypte (1989)
- Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann (1996)
- Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (1996)
- Delibes: Lakmé (1998)
- Offenbach: Orphée aux enfers (1998)
- Handel: Alcina (1999, live)
- Stravinsky: Le rossignol and Renard (1999)
- Mozart: Mitridate, re di Ponto (2001)
- Donizetti: Lucie de Lammermoor (2002)
- Monteverdi: L'Orfeo (2004)
- Bellini: La sonnambula (2007)
- Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (2011, live)
Sacred and concert worksEdit
Soundtrack / spokenEdit
- Time Regained (1999, Jorge Arriagada)
- Joyeux Noël (2006, Philippe Rombi)
- La boîte à joujoux (2007, spoken children's story)
- La petite sirène (2008, spoken children's story)
- Le lac des cygnes (2017, spoken children's story)
- Entre elle et lui (with Michel Legrand) (2013)
- Méhul: La Légende de Joseph en Egypte (1989)
- Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann (1997)
- Offenbach: Orphée aux enfers (1997)
- Strauss: Arabella (2002)
- Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos (2003)
- Thomas: Hamlet (2004)
- Stravinsky: Le rossignol (2005)
- The Miracle of the Voice: Greatest Moments on Stage (2006, compilation)
- Massenet: Manon (2007)
- Donizetti: La fille du régiment (2007)
- Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande (2009)
- Fiction: Live at Folies Bergère (2009)
- Bellini: La sonnambula (2010)
- Verdi: La traviata (2012)
- Handel: Giulio Cesare (2012)
- Rochmann, Caroline (31 October 2015). "Natalie Dessay et Laurent Naouri ont trouvé leur voie". Paris Match (in French). Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- Conrad, Peter (16 December 2007). "A wicked witch who made us laugh and cry". The Observer. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
- Dahan, Eric (23 February 2001). "Enchantée". Libération (in French). Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- Friche, Michèle (25 July 1994). ""La flûte enchantée" au Festival d'Aix-en-Provence lumière dans un festival peau de chagrin". Le Soir.
- McLellan, Joseph (1 November 1995). "The Met's Arresting Arabella". The Washington Post.
- Tommasini, Anthony (26 September 1997). "OPERA REVIEW Deborah Voigt as a Down-to-Earth Ariadne". The New York Times.
- Holland, Bernard (2 February 1998). "MUSIC REVIEW; Hoffmann's Dark Bouts With Love's Obsessions". The New York Times.
- Erikson, Franck (23 January 1997). "Boulez, entre Pierrot et Rossignol". L'Express. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
- Roth, Jean-Jacques (5 January 1999). "A Lausanne, «La Somnambule» trouve sa fée moderne: Natalie Dessay" [In Lausanne, "The Sleepwalker" finds her modern fairy: Natalie Dessay]. Le Temps. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
- Dahan, Eric (22 March 2000). "Opera. Robert Carsen met en scène les «Contes d'Hoffmann» à Bastille". Libération. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- Chouchan, Anne-Marie (21 April 2000). "Toulouse. Natalie Dessay: « Ophélie est une aubaine pour moi »". La Dépêche du Midi.
- Dalbard, Agnès (19 June 2000). "La renaissance de « Hamlet »". Le Parisien.
- Wiesinger, Rainhard (1 June 2000). "Mit Ehrgeiz und Esprit: Die französische Koloratursopranistin Natalie Dessay". Klassik-heute.de (Interview) (in German). Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- "« Les contes d'Hoffmann » à la sauce Savary". La Dépêche du Midi. 15 July 2000.
- Manzi, Emmanuel (23 October 2000). "Mozart en croisière à Genève". Swissinfo. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- Macia, Jean-Luc (25 November 2000). "« La Flûte » retrouve sa magie à l'Opéra Garnier". La Croix.
- Dalbard, Agnès (24 December 2000). "Natalie Dessay, l'enchanteresse de l'Opéra". Le Parisien.
- Christiansen, Rupert (6 May 2003). "Trouble at the Top". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
- Dahan, Eric (27 February 2001). "Une «Femme silencieuse» retentissante" [A resounding "Silent Women"]. Libération.
- Riding, Alan (23 March 2003). "Saying Goodbye to the Magic Flutes". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
- Phillip Huscher, The Santa Fe Opera: An American Pioneer, Santa Fe Opera, 2006, p. 148.
- Midgette, Anne (19 August 2004). "A Change in Santa Fe Opera in More Ways Than One". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
- Quinn, Emily (1 December 2004). "Soprano Natalie Dessay Has Vocal-Cord Surgery". Playbill.
- Huss, Christophe (7 May 2005). "Concert - Natalie Dessay: demain elle continue!". Le Devoir.
- Hétu, Jacques (10 May 2005). "Premier concert de Natalie Dessay au Québec : tout simplement sublime". ResMusica.
- Roux, Marie-Aude (30 May 2005). "Avec "La Création" de Haydn, Natalie Dessay retrouve sa voix" [With Haydn's "The Creation", Natalie Dessay finds her voice]. Le Monde.
- Santa Fe Opera's web site listing the 2009 season
- "Met to Add Seven New Productions for 2007–8" by Daniel J. Wakin, The New York Times, (27 February 2007)
- Vujica, Peter (14 January 2009). "Tönendes Traumspiel der Gefühle" [Sounding dream game of emotions]. Der Standard. Salles, Maurice (17 January 2009). "Une vague de bonheur" [A wave of happiness]. Forumopera.com.
- Roux, Marie-Aude (19 January 2009). "Natalie Dessay défie la voix" [Natalie Dessay defies her voice]. Le Monde.
- Lash, Larry L. (21 January 2009). "Pelleas et Melisande". Variety.
- Dessay, Natalie (Soprano), Metropolitan Opera Database. Accessed 6 October 2013.
- Hillériteau, Thierry (15 February 2012). "Natalie Dessay: 'Je veux change de monde!". Le Figaro (in French).
- Hillériteau, Thierry (4 October 2013). "Natalie Dessay, le chant du départ". Le Figaro (in French).
Comme je le dis à mes amis, ce n'est pas moi qui arrête l'opéra, c'est l'opéra qui m'arrête. [As I tell my friends, it is not I who is quitting opera; opera is quitting me.]
- "VIDÉO. Natalie Dessay, Camelia Jordana, Nolwenn Leroy et Yael Naïm ont chanté dans la cour d'honneur des Invalides durant l'hommage national". HuffPost (in French). 27 November 2015.
- Trinel, Sylvain (27 November 2015). "Natalie Dessay : « Je préfère les mots de Barbara à ceux de la Marseillaise »" [Natalie Dessay: "I prefer the words of Barbara to those of the Marseillaise"]. Télé-Loisirs (in French).
- Cojean, Annick (28 February 2007). "Natalie Dessay : la gouaille de la diva". Le Monde (in French).
- "(33345) Nataliedessay = 1998 XC14". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "2018 : 25ème anniversaire des Victoires de la Musique Classique". Opera Online (in French). 13 February 2018.
- "Prix de Musique de la Fondation Simone et Cino Del Duca 2002" (PDF). Lettre de l'Académie des beaux-arts. No. 31. 2002. p. 22. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
- "Nominations for the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards". London Theatre. 7 February 2008.
- "Natalie Dessay wins Outstanding Achievement in Opera". Official London Theatre. 17 April 2008.
- "The Winners of the 2008 OPERA NEWS Awards are…". Opera News. 4 August 2008.
- "Un prix "in honorem" pour Natalie Dessay". Le Monde (in French). 22 November 2008.
- "Natalie Dessay zur Österreichischen Kammersängerin ernannt". Der Standard (in German). APA. 21 April 2010.
- "Natalie Dessay et Jean-Michel Jarre : Pour eux, le 14 juillet était particulier". Purepeople.com (in French). 17 July 2011.
- "Prix Grand Siècle Laurent-Perrier". Académie des vins anciens (in French). Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "Nomination dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres juillet 2015" (Press release) (in French). Ministère de la Culture. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2019.