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.
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 (…).
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.
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.
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.
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