Au Wigmore Hall: “Everything about this Handel concert was remarkable”

Seen and Heard International | Geoff Diggines

Everything about this Handel concert was remarkable. Nathalie Stutzmann both conducted and sung in the arias. I have never heard of this combination before, but I can say, emphatically, that this duel involvement in the music produced a conviction and dialogue rarely heard. Stutzmann’s singing was remarkable in the way it adapted itself to the tonality/mood of each aria. Orfeo 55 (I counted ten players including organ and harpsichord) were superb with playing Handel could only have imagined!

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The brightness of Osesp in the hands of Nathalie Stutzmann

Concerto | Camila Frésca

© Natalia Kikuchi

© Natalia Kikuchi

Yesterday (…) became even more evident the work she is developing with the orchestra. The Osesp played wonderfully well, since the first bars of the opening of Le Roi d’Ys by Edouard Lalo (…). It prepared the climate for the second piece in the evening, the popular Piano Concerto by Schumann. Besides the quality of the orchestra conducted by Stutzmann, the audience was electrified by solos of pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, which in addition to precision and technical mastery demonstrated a range of tone and interpretive richness. (…) It was supposed to be the climax of the night and follow up in the second part, a light and warm end with the Symphony No. 1 by Bizet. But the work in the hands of Stutzmann was far beyond that. With great musical intelligence, she emphasized the classic character of the first movement and the profound lyricism of the second, in addition to revealing the operatic echoes of the author of Carmen in the final movement of the symphony.

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“Quand surgit l’étrange voix de Nathalie Stutzmann, l’émotion est à son comble” | Jacques Schmitt

Le Festival de Verbier clôt brillament sa vingt-troisième édition avec la Symphonie n° 3 de Gustav Mahler admirablement dirigée par un Michael Tilson Thomas inspiré et un Verbier Festival Orchestra au faîte de sa musicalité. (…) Quand de la harpe suivie de l’effleurement des violoncelles surgit l’étrange voix de Nathalie Stuzmann, l’émotion est à son comble. Lançant son O Mensch ! Gib acht ! à l’unisson des cors et des trombones, la contralto, elle aussi transportée dans le bouleversement de cette musique, se mêle à l’orchestre pour en être un autre instrument confondu.

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Nathalie Stutzmann, la voix profonde du frisson baroque

Le Matin Dimanche | Jean-Jacques Roth

© Simon FowlerContralto I Allez sur YouTube, cherchez Nathalie Stutzmann et l’air de Bach «Erbarme dich», tiré de la Passion selon saint Matthieu: ce que la contralto française fait de cette déploration légendaire est au-delà des mots. Ce n’est pas seulement le timbre de cette voix grave, aux somptueuses teintes fauves. Ce n’est pas seulement le souffle sans fin qui semble la porter. Il passe ici une vibration exceptionnelle: une intensité expressive, une sensualité spirituelle qui allument un brasier dans l’âme du plus endurci des auditeurs. Nathalie Stutzmann est au faîte d’une carrière immense, qui l’a vue participer à une soixantaine d’enregistrements, avec une prédilection pour les compositeurs baroques. Elle se produit à Genève en compagnie de l’ensemble Orfeo 55 qu’elle a fondé en 2009, et qu’elle dirige en même temps qu’elle chante, au profit de Theodora, la fondation qui soulage par le rire les enfants hospitalisés. Le programme est celui de son récent album, entièrement consacré à Haendel et à ses «héros de l’ombre», ceux-là même auxquels sa voix des profondeurs donne une vie si frémissante. Genève, Victoria Hall, le 28 mai à 20 h,

Impressive work from Stutzmann and Gomyo with the SLSO

St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Sarah Bryan Miller

© Monte Carlo Opera

© Monte Carlo Opera

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra had a full house Friday morning at Powell Symphony Hall for the final coffee concert of the 2016-17 season, and the Krispy Kreme doughnuts ran out well before curtain. The near-capacity crowd heard some fine music-making from a debut conductor, a returning soloist and the orchestra.

The originally announced conductor, Jakub Hrusa, and his wife were to have a date with the stork around about now, and he withdrew from the weekend’s concerts last month. Happily, Nathalie Stutzmann was available. Stutzmann, an internationally renowned French contralto, has been steadily building a second career as a conductor in the last decade.

It’s easy to see why she’s met with such success. Stutzmann is spirited and engaged, seems easy to follow, and has a good feel for finding the right tempo. She shares well with others: On Friday morning, at the conclusion of the curtain-raiser, Felix Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave),” she waited to give a well-deserved solo bow to principal clarinet Scott Andrews before turning around to acknowledge the applause herself. I can’t remember another time when I’ve witnessed that. This was a welcome debut in every way.

Violinist Karen Gomyo last performed with the SLSO in 2008, when she nearly set the stage alight with her fiery playing. The Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor is filled with more Northern storms than the Southern heat of the works on her last program here, but it still calls for a virtuoso, and Gomyo is that. There was a little awkwardness at the end of the cadenza in the first movement (on whose part it was hard to tell), but she gave a thrilling, vivid performance that had the audience leaping to its feet for a prolonged and well-deserved ovation. (An encore would not have been amiss.)

Stutzmann and the orchestra largely matched Gomyo’s achievement, accompanying and building the mood in assured fashion. There were some tonal issues from time to time throughout the symphony when all four French horns were playing at once, but otherwise every section was strong.

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