Soprano Natalie Dessay leaves the dizzy heights of Bellini’s Amina, Donizetti’s Marie and Massenet’s Manon to inhabit the more discreet emotional and vocal world of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande with a cast of fellow francophones…
This romantic and rarely performed opera by Ambroise Thomas is now available on DVD in a new production from the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Starring Natalie Dessay and Simon Keenlyside, this Hamlet production is guaranteed to become the benchmark for all other Hamlets to come on DVD. Dessay creates a monumental performance of Ophelie, culminating in one of the most gripping Mad Scenes of all time ("Partagez-vous mes fleurs…et maintenant ecoutez ma chanson…").
Two icons of French song – Natalie Dessay and Michel Legrand – follow the huge worldwide success of their album Entre Elle et Lui with a DVD of the very special concert on the 11th June 2014 at the Orangerie of the Château de Versailles. This is a unique collaboration from two giants of French music. The CD release in 2013 was hotly anticipated and received great critical acclaim upon its release. Natalie Dessay brings her lyrical voice and fresh interpretations to a selection of some of Michel Legrand’s best-loved songs including La Valse des Lilas, Les moulins de mon cœur (Windmills of Your Mind), Duo de Guy et Geneviève, Papa Can You Hear Me and many more.
Natalie Dessay - Greatest Moments on StageThis DVD highlights some of Natalie Dessay's best performances,including two mad scenes, two interesting performances of Grossmachtige Prizessin from Ariadne auf Naxos and two excerpts from Die Zauberflote. But the highlight of the DVD is three (count them) three completely different performances in Les oiseaux dans la charmille from Tales of Hoffmann that are all breathtaking. If only Virgin would come out with a DVD of Natalie in Tales of Hoffmann. Being petite, she is perfect for the role. In the meantime, get her DVD of La fille du regiment.
This DVD version of Donizetti’s comic opera zooms right to the top of any list of essential videos for opera fans. It may not be the composer’s best work, but given a top-notch production with world class singing actors, it brings vocal thrills and an abundance of laughs, a combination that’s hard to beat. The stars are Juan Diego Flórez and Natalie Dessay, both unbeatable in bel canto roles, and both in top form here. Flórez’s mellifluous tenor is flexible enough to make child's play of the terrifying (to other tenors) nine high C’s in Ah! mes amis," and supple enough to make his tender love arias moving…
Mozart's concert arias are not really generically independent from his operas. They were mostly written for insertion into operas by a singer, often Mozart's girlfriend and then sister-in-law Aloysia Weber, who wanted to display her talents to their best advantage. As such, however, they stand out from other operatic arias as some of the most difficult vocal pieces Mozart composed. Several of these pieces are in Queen of the Night territory, with not just individual high notes but lengthy passages that require the singer to be melodic at the very top of her range. This 1994 release by French soprano Natalie Dessay, just hitting the very top of her game, has been a favorite among aficionados of Mozart's vocal music, and its reissue in Virgin Classics' budget line gives other listeners a chance to try it out. For sheer agility in the top register, it's hard to beat. Dessay not only hits the multiple examples of the E two octaves plus above middle C, she sounds good doing so, and she makes real music as the tune bounces around a few steps below that.
On previous releases, Natalie Dessay has established herself as perhaps the leading coloratura soprano of the day. Consider, for example, her artistry on the 1998 Lakmé. From the sensational fireworks heard in The Magic Flute's "Queen of the Night" arias that open and close this stimulating disc, her venture into the Mozart repertory is a resounding success. Dessay's elaborate embellishments in the arias from some of Mozart's little-known earlier works are as breathtaking–the high-flying aria from Ascanio in Alba leaves one begging for more. But roles like Pamina in The Magic Flute and Kostanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio are more properly the province of lyric sopranos, and often one feels the need for a voice with more expansive depth. Dessay nicely captures the tenderness in her affecting "Ach, ich fühl" lines, but Kostanze's "Martern aller Arten" would benefit from a juicier mid- and lower range. But the coloratura arias alone are worth hearing for their thrilling vocalism. –Dan Davis