Natalie Dessay

30 novembre 2006
01m 37s
Ref. 00360


Summary :

Elise Lucet interviews soprano Natalie Dessay regarding her art. She explains her view that opera should be accessible to everyone.

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Broadcast date :
30 novembre 2006
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Born in Lyon in 1965, Natalie Dessay studied singing in Bordeaux and in 1989 she entered the School of Opera in Paris. She debuted at the Bastille Opera as light soprano in theTales of Hoffmann by Offenbach, and this role of Olympia would remain her favourite role. Then a career began, which quickly became international with a repertoire that expanded ceaselessly: The Queen of the Night fromThe Magic Fluteby Mozart, Lakmé, Ophelia fromHamletby Ambroise Thomas, coloratura roles by Richard Strauss, then Stravinsky, Handel...

A vocal cord problem forced her to take several months rest, then she took up her artistic life again and enriched her repertoire with new roles, often dramatic ones likeLucia di Lammermoorby Donizetti. She sangManonby Massenet, Sonnambulaby Bellini. In 1997, she achieved stardom in New York with a new production ofLucia di Lammermoor.

Her numerous recordings, as much recitals as complete operas, met with success and awards. Natalie Dessay defines herself as a singing actress: her voice has a great ease in the high notes, and is still full and warm, which sums up the title of her last album well:The Miracle of the Voice.

Michel Coupard


Elise Lucet
What are the best memories you have of this 15-year career?
Nathalie Dessay
Well, earlier on I was thinking about the fact that they're the, the rare occasions where everything worked together, especially during the rehearsals. What I mean is when you have, together, a solid team, a director that inspires you, a boss that agrees with the staging and actively participates in the creation of the show and that, on the contrary, doesn't try to slow down everything that's happening o And so there were experiences like that, like Laurent Péli's "Orpheus in the Underworld" in Lyon and "La Lucia" with André Serbade, not to mention Karsen's shows, in any case, there were many shows like that where things went very, very well.
Elise Lucet
Well, when I introduced you I said whimsical, some say eccentric, why did you want to blow the dust off of opera to this extent?
Nathalie Dessay
No, well I mean I always take the position that what is beautiful, like opera, for example, isn't just exclusively for an elite. And so, to go up in front of people, you must definitely not remain in a museum, and especially not be in the Grévin museum. I have nothing against the Grévin museum, I love it, but the Grévin museum has to stay the Grévin museum, and opera has to be a live show that's open to everybody.
Elise Lucet
So you say: you don't want to look like a diva and you even say, and it seems a bit paradoxical, that: I wanted people to forget that I was on the stage singing,
Nathalie Dessay
I'd like to, I'd like to...
Elise Lucet
That seems crazy.
Nathalie Dessay
Yes, because I don't consider myself to be a singer, I consider myself to be an actress that sings. So I'd like for the people to be able to go to the show, to enjoy the beautiful voices on the stage, of course, but especially to forget that we're giving a vocal performance so that they're really, like at the theatre, drawn to the story, and seized by t