“Nathalie Stutzmann’s impressive conducting debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra”

Nathalie Stutzmann, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir at curtain call.

Nathalie Stutzmann, the LPO and the LPC at curtain call.

Nathalie Stutzmann made her conducting debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall on March 25 to great critical and public acclaim (visit Nathalie’s Twitter account to read the many enthusiastic responses shared by audience members), giving an “impressive” and “inhabited” performance (Seen and Heard International), with “great insight” (The Guardian) leaving “no doubt as to the buzz that was engendered” (Classical Source).
Nathalie had dedicated the concert to the victims and people affected by the terror attack at Westminster on March 22, addressing the audience a speech at the beginning of the evening. “May their souls find solace and appeasement in this offering” she said.

Check out some of the reviews:

Seen and Heard International | Colin Clarke

Nathalie Stutzmann’s Impressive Conducting Debut with the LPO
It was fascinating to see Natalie Stutzmann (…) in the role of conductor. (…) Stutzmann’s conducting technique is exceptionally clear, and everything she touches emerges as incredibly musical. (…) Taken together, the Strauss and the Mozart Requiem make for a relatively short concert, but one that packed huge emotional punch (…). The joy provided when the music was ongoing [gave] the whole a fitting and poignant tribute to those who lost their lives and were injured last week. One looks forward to Stutzmann’s return to a London podium with some impatience.”

Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:
No better beginning (…) than Richard Strauss’s typically graphic description of death and the journey to the afterlife in his Tod und Verklärung (“Death and Transfiguration”). Stutzmann had clearly worked hard on dynamic range with the orchestra, from the near audibility of the opening to the crushing climaxes, raw in sound and emotion. The LPO’s soloists were uniformly excellent; leader Pieter Schoemann’s solo contributions were given with a tone that had just the right amount of edge. All of the tempo changes were managed perfectly, with no sense of hangover from the previous tempo. Details like hard-edged timpani underscoring fateful brass, but using soft sticks for the hero’s heartbeat, all contributed to the impression that this was a most considered interpretation. The post-mortem section, full of radiance and hope, was beautifully done, the end a perfect combination of discipline and glow. Placing the double-basses, not behind the cellos as normal, but rather allying them with the low brass, added to the sound’s richness.

Mozart – Requiem:
Stutzmann plumped for the familiar Süssmayr completion, but there was no hint of the routine from the forces at hand, in particular the London Philharmonic Choir. Perhaps some of that came from Stutzmann’s tempi, which tended towards the rapid side. The trombone lines in the opening ‘Requiem’ certainly brought the idea of church music to the concert hall; but those trombones’ virtuosity was really called upon in the ‘Kyrie’ fugue, a challenge the three LPO players rose to magnificently (specifically, Mark Templeton, David Whitehouse and Matthew Lewis). Again, the ‘Dies irae’ was taken at an exciting speed; and in sympathy, the ‘Tuba mirum’ was a nice two-in-a-bar. (…) Four distinct personalities, therefore, and yet, when the quartet [Kateryna Kasper, Sara Mingardo, Robin Tritschler, Leon Košavič] came together as a unit, the sound was perfectly balanced, as if individuals melded into a quartet whole. One suspects Stutzmann’s influence here.

Time and time again, Stutzmann’s attention to orchestral detail came through, the orchestra reacting to her direction with incredible flexibility, shading each panel appropriately. Light shone through the ‘Domine Jesu’ as if through a stained glass window; the pure blaze of the ‘Sanctus’ took away the stained glass and allowed us to sit in pure spiritual radiance, while the ‘Benedictus’ had an easy grace.

**********

Classical Source | Nick Breckenfield

(…) there was no doubt as to the buzz that was engendered. I hope that Nathalie Stutzmann was signed up immediately for return visits to the London Philharmonic.

Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:
This was Stutzmann’s conducting debut with the LPO and it was clear by the way she kept the layers of the Strauss light and distinct that she knows exactly what she wants. This was music-making that inhabited the score from within, eschewing heavy brushstrokes. In what was as fascinating as cohesive a reading, Stutzmann carefully graded the climaxes to bring the work, full-circle, to its quiet close.

Mozart – Requiem:
There was an indelible impression of Stutzmann generating a single collective will, with the Choir relishing a singer being in charge and an aptly matched quartet of soloists. This Requiem – as much for the living as for the dead – flowed powerfully, from the mournful bassoon and basset horn keening at the outset, through the thrillingly articulated semiquavers of the ‘Kyrie’ and the outstanding trombone and baritone duet of Tuba mirum (David Whitehouse and Leon Košavić respectively) and so on. The Choir sang magnificently, with a thrilling ping to the tenors’ entries, while their collective standing and seating was impeccably negotiated. In short this was an account for which every facet had been thought through.

**********

The Guardian | Tim Ashley

Nathalie Stutzmann, conducting with great insight, dedicated the evening to victims of the Westminster attack. It is hard to imagine a finer tribute.

Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:
(…) a performance of great clarity and insight. Speeds were extreme and rhythms precise, which made the opening heartbeat syncopations almost clinically unnerving. The central crisis erupted with frightening power. The closing transfiguration, which can easily turn bombastic, was, for once, admirable in its restraint.

Mozart – Requiem:
Once again, terror and compassion combined with precision, whether in the finely honed instrumental solos or the criss-crossing choral counterpoint. The London Philharmonic Choir sang with great dignity and immaculate dynamic control.

Posted in Concert Reviews

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

IMG_3448

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.
ConcertoNet.com

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.
Classicagenda

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 (…).
ResMusica

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.
Musicologie.org

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.
Bachtrack

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

Posted in Concert Reviews

A gloriously engaging Brahms from Stutzmann

The Business Post | Dick O’Riordan

NS-RTENSO

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

Press reviews from Nathalie Stutzmann conducting Brahms

©Alfonso Suárez

©Alfonso Suárez

On November 24, Nathalie Stutzmann led an all-Brahms programme at the head of Oviedo Philharmonic Orchestra: his Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, and his Symphony No. 1.

Codalario La revista de música clásica, 27.11.2016

Stutzmann consiguió extraer todo el potencial de una Oviedo Filarmonía (…) una dirección rigurosa pero flexible que propició el disfrute intenso de una sinfonía en la que siempre se descubre nueva belleza.

Stutzmann managed to extract the full potential of an Oviedo Filarmonía (…) a rigorous but flexible direction that led to the enjoyment intense of a Symphony which is always discovered new beauty.

La Nueva España, 26.11.2016

En esta parte quedó patente la capacidad de esta directora. La Oviedo Filarmonía logró un sonido con mucha potencia y un fraseo muy cuidado. El resultado agradó al público asistente en el Auditorio, que dedicó algunos bravos al término de la interpretación.

In this part the talent of this conductor was evident. Oviedo Filarmonía achieved a sound with a lot of power and a very careful phrasing. The result enchanted the audience in the auditorium who gave away bravos at the end of the performance.

La música en Siana, 26.11.2016

Stutzmann entendió esta Primera de Brahms en un crecimiento global que tiene un cénit único en tensión y emoción, romanticismo en estado puro. (…) Largamente aplaudida por músicos y publico la directora francesa ha demostrado que encasillarse en ciertos repertorios no suele hacer justicia, y su autoridad en la batuta ha sido corroborada con este Brahms ovetense.

Stutzmann understood this First of Brahms in a global crescendo with a zenith only in tension and emotion, romanticism in its purest form. (…) Longly applauded by the musicians and the audience, (…) her authority with the baton was corroborated by this Brahms in Oviedo.

Menu