National Symphony Orchestra: Handel’s Messiah at The Kennedy Center

DCMetroTheaterArts | Em Skow

But the performance’s star in my opinion was Nathalie Stutzmann with the conductor’s baton. Guided by her immensely expressive direction, both the voice and orchestra parts rose and fell with unmatched sensitivity. The iconic Hallelujah’s chorus crescendoed so organically it was startling, and “Wonderful, Counselor” bloomed into the rafters with the urging of her wide movements. The undivided attention she commanded and respect she has so clearly earned from those in front (and behind) her was equally as moving.

The evening’s program notes summarized her as rigor and fantasy embodied in a conduct and I have to agree. It would do her a disservice to say she just connected to the layers of the work, or even to say that she moved others to do the same. The piece shown through her, radiating from her fingertips, dancing through her toes, bouncing through her arms, shoulders, and legs to the floor where even she had to hold on to the rail to steady herself at times. For her, three dimensions weren’t enough to conduct with and her level of passion was truly an honor to witness.

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