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Natalie Dessay and her friends, on the Great Lakes
Music & Entertainment
About this cruise
The French soprano, Natalie Dessay (born Nathalie Dessaix), 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. In her youth, Dessay had intended to be a ballet dancer, and then an actress. She discovered her talent for singing whilst 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 Telecom, 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 W.A. Mozart's Il re pastore. Also, she entered the International Mozart Competition at the Vienna Staatsoper, winning First Prize. Dessay is a lyric coloratura soprano.
Natalie Dessay 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 Opera Bastille, as well as Adele in Die Fledermaus in Geneva. In April and May 1992 at the Opéra Bastille, she sang the role of Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann with José van Dam. The Roman Polanski production was not well received, but it began the road to stardom for Dessay. Although she was soon featured in another production of Hoffmann, it would be over ten years before her return to Paris Opera in the same role. Soon after her Hoffmann run, Dessay joined the Vienna State Opera as Blondchen in The Abduction From The Seraglio by W.A. Mozart. She was then asked to replace Cheryl Studer in all three female roles in a German production of Hoffmann. In December 1993, Dessay's Olympia received acclaim from the Vienna audiences and praise from Plácido Domingo.
Oct 13, 2024
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