Dessay in 2008
19 April 1965
|Known for||Operatic soprano|
Laurent Naouri (m. 1994)
Natalie Dessay (French: [na.ta.li də.sɛ] ; born 19 April 1965) is a French singer and actress who had a highly acclaimed career as an operatic coloratura soprano before leaving the opera stage on 15 October 2013.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
A coloratura soprano is a type of operatic soprano voice that specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills.
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 Die Zauberflöte . In her later career, she took on roles in the romantic bel canto repertoire and performed Baroque music by composers such as Handel and Bach. She became an Austrian Kammersängerin in 2010 and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 2011. After her operatic retirement, she pursues a career involving concert and theatre. In concert, she performs other genres such as jazz and chanson as well as classical.
Lakmé is an opera in three acts by Léo Delibes to a French libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille.
Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60, is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Combining slapstick comedy and consummately beautiful music, the opera's theme is the competition between high and low art for the public's attention.
Baroque music is a period or style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance music era, and was followed in turn by the Classical era. Baroque music forms a major portion of the "classical music" canon, and is now widely studied, performed, and listened to. Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arcangelo Corelli, Tomaso Albinoni, François Couperin, Giuseppe Tartini, Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Dieterich Buxtehude, and Johann Pachelbel.
She was born as 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, Dessay had intended to be a ballet dancer and then an actress. [ citation needed ]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 in Toulouse. At the competition Les Voix Nouvelles, run by France Télécom, she was awarded second prize followed by a year's study at Paris Opera's Ecole d'Art Lyrique, where she sang Elisa in Mozart's Il re pastore . She entered the International Mozart Competition at the Vienna State Opera, winning first prize.
Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km (292 mi) south from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) north from Marseille and 56 km (35 mi) northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais.
Natalie Wood was an American actress.
The Conservatoire de Bordeaux is an arts conservatory that offers higher education in music, dance and drama in Bordeaux, France. It is one of the leading schools in France for singers and saxophonists. Founded in 1821, the school is operated by the French Ministry of Culture.
She 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 in Geneva.
Die Entführung aus dem Serail is an opera Singspiel in three acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German libretto is by Gottlieb Stephanie, based on Christoph Friedrich Bretzner's Belmont und Constanze, oder Die Entführung aus dem Serail. The plot concerns the attempt of the hero Belmonte, assisted by his servant Pedrillo, to rescue his beloved Konstanze from the seraglio of Pasha Selim. The work premiered on 16 July 1782 at the Vienna Burgtheater, with the composer conducting.
Der Schauspieldirektor, K. 486, is a comic singspiel by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, set to a German libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie, an Austrian Schauspieldirektor. Originally, it was written because of "the imperial command" of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II who had invited 80 guests to a private luncheon. It is regarded as "a parody on the vanity of singers", who argue over status and pay.
Zaide is an unfinished German-language opera, K. 344, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1780. Emperor Joseph II, in 1778, was in the process of setting up an opera company for the purpose of performing German opera. One condition required of the composer to join this company was that he should write a comic opera. At Salzburg in 1779 Mozart began work on a new opera. It contains spoken dialogue, which also classifies it as a Singspiel. Only the arias and ensembles from the first two acts were composed. Missing are an overture and third act.
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 Dessay. Although she was soon featured in another production of Hoffmann, it would be over ten years before her return to the Paris Opera in the same role. Soon after her Hoffmann run, Dessay joined the Vienna State Opera as Blondchen 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.
The Opéra Bastille is a modern opera house in Paris, France. Inaugurated in 1989 as part of President François Mitterrand’s “Grands Travaux”, it became the main facility of the Paris National Opera, France's principal opera company, alongside the older Palais Garnier; most opera performances are shown at the Bastille along with some ballet performances and symphony concerts, while Palais Garnier presents a mix of opera and ballet performances.
The Tales of Hoffmann is an opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, who is the protagonist of the story. It was Offenbach's final work; he died in October 1880, four months before the premiere.
Joseph, Baron Van Damme, known as José van Dam, is a Belgian bass-baritone.
She attended a performance where Barbara Bonney had sung Sophie in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier under Carlos Kleiber. Dessay was cast in the same role with another conductor. Blondchen in Die Entführung and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos became her best known and most often played roles.
Barbara Bonney is an American soprano.
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben, Symphonia Domestica, and An Alpine Symphony; and other instrumental works such as Metamorphosen and his Oboe Concerto. Strauss was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59, is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Molière's comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. It was first performed at the Königliches Opernhaus in Dresden on 26 January 1911 under the direction of Max Reinhardt, Ernst von Schuch conducting. Until the premiere the working title was Ochs auf Lerchenau.
In October 1994, Dessay made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York in the role of Fiakermilli in Strauss's Arabella , and returned there in September 1997 as Zerbinetta and in February 1998 as Olympia. In 1997 she made a recording of Lakmé with the tenor Gregory Kunde, baritone José van Dam and mezzo-soprano Delphine Haidan
At the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Dessay first performed the role of the Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute . Although she was hesitant to perform the role, saying she did not want to play evil characters, director Robert Carsen convinced her that this Queen would be different, almost a sister to Pamina; Dessay agreed to do the role.
During the 2001–2002 season in Vienna, she 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, Dessay 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.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 Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna's second world-class opera house, alongside Laurent Naouri. 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.
In February 2012, Dessay said in an interview with Le Figaro that she would take a sabbatical from opera performance in 2015.
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 in Le Figaro on 4 October 2013, 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.
Dessay is married to the bass-baritone Laurent Naouri, and she converted to his Jewish faith.The couple have two children.
Patrizia Ciofi is an Italian operatic coloratura soprano.
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Deborah Cook is an operatic soprano who had a prolific international opera career during the 1970s and 1980s. Her career was primarily focused in Germany where she lived from 1972 through 1985. However, she did travel extensively throughout Europe and in the United States, performing in operas, concerts, recitals, and recording for radio productions. A gifted coloratura soprano, Cook sang a wide repertoire that encompassed English, German, French, and Italian opera from a variety of musical periods. She notably sang in a number of world premieres including Hans Werner Henze's We Come to the River at the Royal Opera, London in 1976.
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