A gloriously engaging Brahms from Stutzmann

The Business Post | Dick O’Riordan


The French-born Stutzmann – world-famous as a contralto, but now equally so as a conductor – had just been revealed as the orchestra’s new principal guest conductor.

The news came as a surprise to many. Stutzmann appeared here only once before when, barely a year ago, she took charge of a heavyweight agenda of Wagner and Mahler, so there were probably many who did not know what to expect with a hefty schedule of Brahms. They did not have to wait long.

Stutzmann’s handling of Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello, a rare enough work here, was gloriously engaging. Her deft handling of the orchestra against the stunning interweaving of sound and moods by Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman and German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich produced a deeply affecting performance.

Securing Stutzmann’s services up to the end of 2019 has really excited RTÉ, not least music supremo Aodán Ó Dubhghaill.

“Nathalie’s performance last year was a clincher,” he says. “It was apparent from the outset that an easy and natural chemistry had developed between her and the orchestra while, on the other side, the audience intuitively sensed this and responded in the warmest terms.”

Stutzmann responded in kind, saying she was truly impressed with her introduction to the orchestra last February.“After just a few minutes of rehearsal, it was immediately clear this was an ensemble of generosity, spirit and real character – an orchestra made of flesh and blood.”

So what can audiences expect? Stutzmann is probably best in describing that. Here is what she told a recent interviewer:

“There are two types of performers, those who strive their whole lives to reach a point which displays to full effect the difficulty of their art – they have their audience. Then there are those who try to make what they do seem effortless – I belong in that category. It is less of a spectacle perhaps, but I prefer that the audience gets to the essence of the music. I don’t want them to stop at their impression of the performance but to lose themselves in the beauty of the music.”

That’s exactly what happened last weekend.

A fruitful partnership: Nathalie Stutzmann delivers a convincing Brahms 2 in Dublin

Backtrack | Andrew Larkin

Two things impressed me with Stutzmann’s conception of Brahms’ Symphony no. 2 in D major after the break: her super sharp rhythmic delineation and these unexpected, unforeseen moments of shy tenderness which I have never witnessed from the NSO or in the context of this piece in any other recording. The latter happened twice, towards the end of the first movement and in the Adagio second movement. In both cases it was if I was hearing the work in a new way as I was transported by the exquisite delicacy of the moment. The second movement was the highlight for me with so much to delight in: from the stillness of the cellos’ melody or the long unbroken lines of music which Stutzmann lovingly unfurled basking in the movement’s warm harmonies. None of this takes away from the carefree insouciance of the pastoral third movement or the pulsating excitement of the finale which Stutzmann took at a rollicking fast pace. All in all, it was a thoroughly convincing Brahms 2 and what has all the hallmarks of an extremely fruitful partnership between Stutzmann and the NSO for the next few years.

Read the full article on Backtrack

“Stutzmann is a different kind of conductor”

The Huffington Post | Laura Goldman

© Seiji Ozawa's Mito Chamber Orchestra

© Seiji Ozawa’s Mito Chamber Orchestra

One of the most anticipated highlights every year of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s holiday calendar is Handel’s Messiah. The world seems a little less divided when the audience stands up and sings the chorus of Hallelujah in unison. The Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, led by Joe Miller, will perform the oratorio with the orchestra this year on December 18 at 2pm at the Kimmel Center. French conductor and vocalist Nathalie Stutzmann will be making her Philadelphia Orchestra conducting debut. She has previously conducted the “Messiah” in Detroit and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC to great acclaim.

Stutzmann is a different kind of conductor. She believes her victory as a conductor comes when she finishes a rehearsal and the back of the orchestra is smiling as they play. She said, “If I give them the pleasure to play, if I remind them why they want to make music, if they are happy to play, they will give me everything.”

Read the full article on The Huffington Post

Posted in Press Reviews

“The kind of heat one associates with Gustavo Dudamel”

The Philadelphia Inquirer | David Patrick Stearns

Your eyes don’t deceive you. Yes, that’s Nathalie Stutzmann, the distinguished French contralto, conducting Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra at 2 p.m. next Sunday at the Kimmel Center. Like soprano Barbara Hannigan, Stutzmann is serious about conducting – to judge from the radio broadcast of her St. Louis Symphony Orchestra guest-conducting date this year. Her rendition of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 7 exuded insight, intelligence, strategy, and the kind of heat one associates with Gustavo Dudamel. How those virtues translate into Handel’s Messiahremains to be seen. But it’s a fair bet the performance won’t be routine.

Read the original article on philly.com

Posted in Press Reviews

Spanish National Orchestra: “a deserved final ovation”

Codalario, La revista de música clásica | Álvaro Menéndez Granda

Fernando Marcos / OCNE

Fernando Marcos / OCNE

The force with which Nathalie Stutzmann captained the members of the National Orchestra throughout the work was patent right from the opening energetic theme. Also lyrical when it was necessary, the balanced sonority of the Orchestra was able to extract the full potential of the score. This balance is precisely the characteristic element of the special reading of the French conductor whom the audience granted with a deserved final ovation.

Read the original review (in Spanish) on codalario.com