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Natalie Dessay

Natalie Dessay

For 23 years she performed all over the world, serving Handel, Mozart, Strauss, Offenbach, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi in the maid roles (Zerbinette, La Fille du Régiment, Blondchen...), young leading roles (Lakmé, Amina, Lucia, Juliette…) and the rather more magical creatures (Olympia, Queen of the Night, Titania, Cleopatra…) and the lost (Manon, Violetta…). After six Victoires de la Musique awards, the Lawrence Olivier Award in London in 2008 and the coveted title of Kammersängerin at the Vienna Opera in 2010, the first French artist to receive it of which she is very proud.

In 2013, she decided to change her life and left opera to sing French melody and German lied (with pianist Philippe Cassard) continuing to perform roles, but without singing.

In 2015 we find her in the theatre in a monologue, Howard Barker’s Und, then The Legend of a Life of Stefan Zweig and Julie Otsuka’s Some had never seen the sea. In 2021, she was Madam Lemarchand in Marie Ndiaye’s Hilda and, by the same author, created Un pas de chat sauvage. In the meantime, she was participating in Vanasay Khamphommala’s Echo project.

It is not that easy to change your life so completely. It is an exercise in freedom requiring determination, perseverance and above all inspiration and without a doubt an example. This example, this inspiration came in 2008 when she met Michel Legrand. With him she started exploring the world of singing and discovered another deeper, softer, more intimate voice.

With Les Parapluies de Cherbourg at the Chatelet theatre she entered, thanks to him, the world of musical comedy and later was entrusted with the role of Fosca in Stephen Sondheim’s Passion. Her collaboration with Michel Legrand culminated in a series of songs with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, begun in 1970 for Barbra Streisand, Between Yesterday and Tomorrow, which they recorded together in 2017.

In 2019 it was with another superb musician without borders, Yvan Cassar, that she recorded an album as a tribute to one of her favourite singers, Claude Nougaro.

The year 2023 saw her preparing to appear in Goldoni’s The Impresario of Smyrna and a family show based around the American musical, as amidst all this activity she is very proud of her husband Laurent and her two children, Tom and Neïma who are also musicians.

Languages spoken: French and English


Photo credit: ARR

You will soon be able to travel alongside Natalie Dessay