Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday: Natalie Dessay

The French coloratura soprano was born Nathalie Dessaix, 19 April 1965, in Lyon. She dropped the "h" in her first name in honor of Natalie Wood when she was in grade school and subsequently simplified the spelling of her surname outside France. Famous
A 2001 Corpus Thalis gown designed
for Ms. Dessay
in her earlier career for a very high upper extension, limpid intonation and superb coloratura, Dessay became more recognized in recent years for her dramatic and comedic flair as a singing actress. In her youth, Dessay had intended to be a ballet dancer, and then an actress. She discovered her talent for singing while taking acting classes, and shifted her artistic focus to music. Dessay was encouraged to study voice at the Conservatoire national de région de Bordeaux and gained experience as a chorister in Toulouse. At the competition Les Voix Nouvelles, run by France Télécom, she was awarded First Prize (Premier Prix de Concours) followed by a year's study at Paris Opera's Ecole d'Art Lyrique, where she sang Elisa in Mozart's Il re pastore. Also, she entered the International Mozart Competition at the Vienna State Opera, winning First Prize. She was quickly approached by a number
of theatres, and subsequently sang Blondchen, Madame Herz (in Der Schauspieldirektor), Zerbinetta and Zaïde at the Opéra National de Lyon and the Opéra Bastille, as well as Adele in Die Fledermaus in Geneva. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1994 as Fiakermilli in Strauss's Arabella. Having given over 70 performances at the MET, she has sung in Ariadne auf Naxos, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Roméo et Juliette, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Sonnambula and La Fille du Régiment. She is an exclusive recording artist of EMI Classics. Photos of Natalie Dessay are both by Simon Fowler. [Source, Source, Source, Source]

Listening highlights from the soprano's career (click the aria title to launch the music):
"Où va la jeune hindoue" Lakmé (Delibes)

"O zittre nicht" Die Zauberflöte (Mozart)

"Großmächtige Prinzessin" Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss)
"Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille" Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach)

"Il dolce suono...Ardon gl'incensi" Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)

"Oh! quante volte" I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini)

"Frühlingsstimmen", Op. 410 (J. Strauss)

"Da tempeste il legno infranto" Giulio Cesare (Händel)

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