After studying at the Bordeaux Conservatoire, Natalie Dessaywas awarded first prize (Premier Prix de Concours) in the competition 'Les Voix Nouvelles', run by France-Telecom. She then studied for one year at Paris Opera's Ecole d'Art Lyrique, where she sang Elisa in Mozart's Il Re Pastore, and, on the advice of Jean-Pierre Brossmann, entered the International Mozart Competition at the Vienna Staatsoper, winning first prize.
As a consequence of the Mozart competition she appeared in a number of prestigious concerts, notably a concert of Mozart arias at La Scala, Milan. Engaged very quickly by a number of theatres, she subsequently sang Blondchen (Die Entfehrung), Madame Herz (Schauspieldirektor), Zerbinetta, Zarde at the Opera de Lyon and the Opera Bastille, as well as Adele (Die Fledermaus) in Geneva.
In 1992, she sang the role of Olympia in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann at the invitation of the Opera Bastille. Engagements followed one after the other and Dessay performed again at the opening of the New Lyon Opera in 1993 before joining the prestigious Vienna Staatsoper. Her triumph as Blondchen led to further success, and she was soon performing the role of Olympia alongside Placido Domingo. Her performances as Zerbinetta (Ariadne) and Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) with Anne Sofie von Otter then followed to much critical acclaim.
In 1994, Natalie Dessay sang the Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflete) at the Aix-en-Provence festival before making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Fiakermilli (Arabella). She sang in Lakme at the Opera-Comique before returning to Vienna that same year to sing the roles of Zerbinetta and Olympia once again. Dessay then made her Debut at La Scala, Milan, as Olympia under Riccardo Chailly, before returning to Aix to sing the Queen of the Night, a role she sang again at the Opera de Lyon in 1996.
In Autumn 1996 Dessay performed the role of Aminta in Strauss' La Femme Silencieuse, in a production staged for her by the Viennese Opera. She also sang Le Rossignol (Stravinsky) at the Chatelet under Pierre Boulez, and Ophelia (Hamlet) in Geneva. Natalie Dessay made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1997 singing the role of Queen of the Night and premiered at the Glyndebourne Festival in the EMI Centenary Gala, singing Bernstein's Glitter and be gay (Candide) to universal acclaim.
Active in the worlds of both concert and recital, Dessay has performed Mozart arias with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and has also gave a Haydn programme at the Musikverein in Vienna in March 1998. More recently she has sung the roles of Zerbinetta and Olympia at the Metropolitan Opera and is presently completing a recital tour of Geneva, Milan and Paris with Ruben Lifschitz. She has recently made her first appearance in La Sonnambula in Lausanne and sang the role of Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflete) at the Bastille
in March 1999.
Engagements in future seasons will include: Morgana in Alcina (Handel) at the Opera Garnier (June 1999) and in Chicago (end 1999), Lulu (in two acts) in Vienna (2000) and
Hamlet in Toulouse and at
the Chalelet (2000).
Natalie Dessay records exclusively for EMI Classics and her discography includes collections of Mozart opera arias and French opera arias. In April 1998 EMI Classics released her recital album entitled Vocalises featuring Michael Schonwandt conducting the Berliner Sinfonie Orchester. This album received a Diapason D'Or (April 1998) and a Classique d'Or RTL (April 1998). In October 1998 EMI Classics released a new production of Lakme with Michel Plasson - which has recently been awarded French Recording of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique Classique awards. Natalie Dessay's most recent release is a new recording of Offenbach's Orfae aux Enfers with Minkowski and Lyon Opera. Future plans include a disc of Mozart Opera Arias with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment and Langrae
in November 1999.
Virgin Classics presents: Natalie Dessay & Emmanuelle Haim in: Cantatas of George Frideric Handel. These pieces are some of Handel's most personal, and includes the cantata, Il Delirio Amoroso for soprano, recorder, 3 violins, viola, cello & continuo.
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