The “truly enchanted wand of Nathalie Stutzmann” conducting Wagner’s Tannhäuser


Nathalie Stutzmann concluded her Tannhäuser adventure in Monte-Carlo with the live broadcast on Culturebox on February 28. Glistening reviews celebrate her direction of Wagner’s opera at the head of Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra:

What a stroke of luck at the podium. At the head of Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra playing with Gaulish wit was contralto Nathalie Stutzmann. She is still singing, but has built up also a conductor’s career in recent years. And this Wagner debut was both powerful and blissful at the same time. As Stutzmann understands it from the very first notes, she gives this music a completely different, non-Teutonic sound. (…) Stutzmann gives the sound a delicate sensuality, with shimmering strings and voluptuous woodwinds. This Wagner sounds erotic without exaggeration, he dances and lures, puts on intensity and gentle seduction, loves bright colours and light rhythms. The German, dark, sluggish, which would have otherwise wiped the Bacchanale, is here gladly lacking. (…) This “Tannhauser” sensation on the Mediterranean is perfect. And Bayreuth for 2019 is truly under pressure.
Die Welt

Here we can only praise Nathalie Stutzmann’s direction, perfect in style, color, dramatism, sense of Wagnerian architecture, superbly stretched by a careful beat that joyfully marks the instrumental detail of an orchestra that is obviously happy to be confronted with Wagner (…).
L’Avant-Scène Opéra

Let us immediately admire the truly enchanted wand of Nathalie Stutzmann, an extraordinary magician, who galvanizes her choirs, orchestra and soloists with an inspiring, exalting direction, wide with tragic breath, enthusiastic. Energetic and nuanced, according to the circumstances, her leadership cleverly shed light on the true nature of this transitional opera, openly announcing in the third act the “Impressionism” of Parsifal.
Le Podcast Journal

Finally, one will praise the exciting direction of Nathalie Stutzmann at the head of a Monte Carlo Philharmonic in Olympic form. From the entry of the strings without vibrato in the opening, the tone is set: one will be entitled to a reading “historically informed” about modern instruments, as Abbado, Rattle or Jansons in Beethoven did. Fortunately, this option will be defended without dogmatism, with a very concerted conception to better bring out the dialogues between stands and the alloys of new tones of the orchestra.

On the podium – the next surprise of the evening – Nathalie Stutzmann, famous as a contralto. She now conducts and takes Wagner’s music with elan, careful to the cohesion of large melodic arcs.
Die Presse

Nathalie Stutzmann, who returns for the second time to the Monte-Carlo Opera as conductor, is very much applauded. Attentive to the singers, yet she makes the orchestra more present than usual by an exceptional sound. Her conducting is lively and contrasted, more narrative than psychological. She manages to create well-differentiated atmospheres and to master the ensembles, avoiding the exaggerated Wagnerian pump. The brasses of Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra have a noble and full sound level, without ever forcing. The horns are remarkable in the hunting music at the end of the first act.

Placed at the head of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the singer and conductor Nathalie Stutzmann is also an excellent surprise: she is the effective coordinator of the evening. Her precise reading, attentive to the singers, renders justice to the riches of a score of which she makes the slightest subtleties sound.
Opera Online

As for the direction of Nathalie Stutzmann, (…) it is of a constant and peaceful beauty, with a beautiful management of silences, themes (magnificent exchanges Elisabeth / Tannhäuser at the beginning of act II), a perfect integration of the harp and even the castanets! She seduces right from the Ouverture (…).

On the other hand we cannot praise enough the musical direction of Nathalie Stutzmann (…). Her work with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and the singers on the stage, even more precise than the one realized with her Elisir d’amore, does not encumber her feminine paw which becomes a valuable asset in her reading, admittedly softened, of the score: the famous opening nevertheless let us hear moving and brilliant sonorities with gleaming brass of majesty while preserving the elegance of these thematic entanglements taken up by the stands.

Good surprise, however, with the direction of Nathalie Stutzmann who was certainly not expected in this repertoire. Imposing energetic tempos, [she] leads her troops to port, without fear to sometimes unleash the full force of the orchestra, for example in the final of the second act.
Forum Opera

In the pit Nathalie Stutzmann performs a very beautiful work at the head of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. Beautiful energy and beautiful look with the set are noticeable.

There is even a contralto, but in the pit: it is indeed Nathalie Stutzmann who directs the evening, with a beautiful mixture of enthusiasm, skill and sense of colors.
La Libre Belgique

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.

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Posted in Press Reviews