Dessay attempted a silky Streisand-style float in standards like “On a Clear Day” and “Send in the Clowns.”But she hasn’t abandoned classical music: A new album of Schubert songs features intriguingly if unremittingly stark interpretations.
She made a better impression in some of those songs at Carnegie, with full-bodied collaboration from the pianist Philippe Cassard. Dessay likes to present — that of a victim giving testimony — rounds into a complete, often riveting performance a voice that, when recorded, can come off chilly and charmless.
“It’s that opera is leaving me.”When opera leaves you, what’s left? Dessay, it has been tours with the French pop and film composer Michel Legrand and some straight theater. In 2014, she was Madame Emery in a semi-staged version of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and has played the obsessive Fosca in Stephen Sondheim’s “Passion.” (Ms.
Fleming will follow that lead, appearing next season in a Broadway production of “Carousel.”) In “Pictures of America,” a recording released last year, Ms.
The intensity rarely lifted: an admirable consistency of mood, though a consistency achieved at the expense of possibilities for variety.
There wasn’t much individuality in each of Pfitzner’s eight rarely done “Alte Weisen” songs, depictions of women from youth to old age. Dessay, 52, faced the same problem over the past decade or so.“It’s not that I’m leaving opera,” she told the newspaper Le Figaro in 2013, during her final run as Massenet’s Manon.Read some highlights:"In September, Natalie will be in Toulouse to sing Massenet’s Manon. It may be her last appearance on the operatic stage. Conductors for these appearances included Pierre Boulez, James Levine, James Conlon, William Christie and Marc Minkowski.She also worked with Laurent Pelly, notably in Orphée aux Enfers (1997), for the first time in the role of Marie from La Figlia del Reggimento by Donizetti, as well as in Pelléas and Mélisande that was also recorded on DVD (2009).Courtesy of the Opéra national de Paris French soprano Natalie Dessay is one the stars of today’s operatic world, thrilling audiences as both a singer and an actress.Now an admired interpreter of bel canto and lyric heroines such as Lucia di Lammermoor, Marie (La Figlia del Reggimento), Amina (La sonnambula), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Manon, Juliette and Ophélie (Hamlet), Dessay originally made her reputation with showpiece coloratura roles such as Offenbach’s Olympia, Mozart’s Queen of the Night and Strauss’ Zerbinetta. She first dreamed of becoming a dancer, but later studied acting and singing at the Bordeaux Conservatoire. It’s just a detour of thirty-three years—to finally get back to my first goal. ''There was no coloratura, because I hate that kind of voice.