December 19, 2023

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Amsterdam Concertgebouw

“The NedPho conducted by Stutzmann excelled in rarefied and atmospheric orchestral sounds. (…)
In the colorful sequence of atmospheric character pieces from Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker Suite No. 1, Stutzmann animatedly read musical stories from a magical storybook, with the entire orchestra coming to life and the audience hanging on her every word. She then proved her expressive gift to let Wagner appeal to the imagination in an elegant, inventive and light-hearted way, so that the sensual harmonies, melodic flows and harmonic shifts of the Tannhäuser Overture not only intoxicated and crushed, but also amazed and seduced. Wagner was taken out of his megalomaniac tower to blow off the tower in a humane and transparent manner.”
De Nieuwe Muze

October 29, 2023

Orchestre de Paris, Paris Philharmonie

“At the helm of the Orchestre de Paris, the conductor gave a performance of the “Pastorale” Symphony marked by superior unity and fullness (…) Under Stutzmann’s baton, the “Pastorale” flows smoothly from source to source, as if the “Creek Scene” were elevated to the beating heart of the work. Everything that precedes leads to it, everything that follows flows from it. Her vision has the fluidity, the slightly shifting yet uninterrupted shape.”

July 28-August 28, 2023

Wagner Festival, Bayreuth / Wagner's Tannhäuser

“Nathalie Stutzmann: Now she’s conducting
(…) does it [being a woman] make a difference – an audible one? It may be. But already after the first bars, one has no desire to think about it further; What Nathalie Stutzmann is doing is far too clever, too interesting and – quite literally – too exciting for that.
Tannhäuser is one of those operas that also works without a stage, because it is composed in three dimensions – for example, it happens twice that several characters talk “in front” while “behind” a choir passes by, which one understands immediately even with closed eyes. Nathalie Stutzmann discovers this principle in almost every bar, she reads the score like the libretto of a drama in which the voices converse, betray each other, support each other or even fight with each other, and it is by no means clear from the start which voice is important and which are not. Every bar opens up a space, every phrase becomes a small chamber play, and the wonderful thing is: you can feel the tension without racking your brains over it all.
And you can feel something else: Nathalie Stutzmann doesn’t make the music bigger than it is. And neither herself. She finds it very pleasant that ego games are completely unnecessary in the Bayreuth orchestra pit, she said in an interview. You really haven’t heard that on the Green Hill either.”
Die Zeit

“Nathalie Stutzmann is enthusiastically celebrated for her “Tannhäuser”.
The cheering in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus is already merry, but when the conductor Nathalie Stutzmann comes onto the stage, all the visitors gradually stand up and cheer even more. Because what the elegant woman in a black suit and white shirt did from Richard Wagner’s love story “Tannhäuser” combines charm with beautiful sound, stringency with decency, singer-friendliness with intellectual sovereignty. She is always her singers’ partner and not dictator, she vividly and precisely engraves Wagner’s idiosyncratic sound webs, which gloss the story with riddles and surprises. You can safely call it a miracle, and judging by the enthusiasm, the audience was of the same opinion. (…)
Stutzmann makes her aesthetic position clear from the start in “Tannhäuser”. She loves beautiful and always flexible lines, she breathes with every voice, she pays attention to every detail, she avoids anything rigid despite the brisk tempi. The warm-sounding strings are particularly close to her heart, she domesticates the wind instruments, demands something mystical and harsh from them, lets them shine. Then Stutzmann prefers the quiet, she lets the orchestra play chamber music again and again. The septet of male hero singers, often performed as a roaring orgy by alpha egos, also turns out to be a fine summery web of voices.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung

“There was enthusiastic applause, shouts of bravo and trampling for around 20 minutes. Conductor Nathalie Stutzmann received standing ovations. (…)
Nathalie Stutzmann had the special acoustics in the Festspielhaus well under control on her debut. She led the singers and orchestra through the evening carefully, at times cautiously, but mostly precisely and very sensitively.”
Die Welt

“Nathalie Stutzmann lets “Tannhäuser” blossom
What did Nathalie Stutzmann do with Richard Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”?! As a conductor, she gives this music a natural, quiet and unforced beauty that captivates faster and more sustainably than any offensive overpowering. (…)
Stutzmann is the second woman in the history of the Bayreuth Festival to conduct here. You can tell from the way she makes music that until recently she was still a world-class alto. In the prelude to “Tannhäuser” – beginning only with clarinets, horns and bassoons – Wagner requires the tempo to be “not sluggish, walking movement” and “very sustained”. Phrasing notes, however, are entirely absent. What does Stutzmann do? She adds the text of the Pilgrims’ Choir, which will later be sung to this music, and divides it into four bars according to the rhyme scheme, just as a singer would breathe. Before major climaxes, she allows the orchestra to take a deep breath, delays it slightly and then lets it breathe out collectively. The Venusberg music with its panting accents, which then quickly has to quiet down like smothered moans, takes away the nervous flickering, the glaring instinctual hysteria. The contrasts are all there, but organic, magical, captivatingly beautiful, without breathlessness.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Best of all: Nathalie Stutzmann is already able to do all of this [a constant breathing together with the singers, a symbiotic, collegial music-making that makes the stage and the orchestra pit into one organism]. She has already conducted Tannhäuser and is engaged for the first time at the Bayreuth Festival. When she steps in front of the audience, it rips them off the folding seats – such a debut has not been seen here for a long time.”
Münchner Merkur

“Ovations for conductor Nathalie Stutzmann
Conductor Natalie Stutzmann (…) doesn’t rely on effect, not on mowing down the audience with the orchestral sound. Not a trace of ego, she lets the work speak – and the audience celebrates with standing ovations. I’ve never experienced that in a Bayreuth pit debut. Stutzmann carries the singers on her hands and they noticeably enjoy it.”

“Nathalie Stutzmann has the Bayreuth Gene”
Oper Magazin

“Under Stutzmann, this revival of the rightly acclaimed production by Tobias Kratzer from 2019 became the actual premiere. Already in the prelude, an unbelievably multicolored, shimmering magic sound grew out of the ditch. Stutzmann unleashes a concise tonal dramaturgy with soothingly flowing tempi, naturally thought out of the music. In terms of dynamics, too, nothing seems overdriven, there is neither overpressure nor hollow roaring pathos.
The singing benefits from this consistent purification. With Stutzmann on the podium, the festival orchestra literally breathes together with the voices, the balance between pit and stage is almost perfect. (…) Stutzmann also mastered the treacherous acoustics in Wagner’s Festspielhaus in an exemplary manner, and he did it right away – it’s not a matter of course, you’ve heard better-known names fail here.”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

“No ulterior motive here for Nathalie Stutzmann. The Frenchwoman conducted with rare modesty, without any ego bloat, whereas megalomania strikes so many maestros as soon as they set foot and baton in the pit. When it’s not megalomania that’s rampant, it’s sometimes atony, as we saw with Guergiev. None of this, as Stutzmann unfolds with absolute respect for the work and precisely secures the singers. She received a triumphant welcome that turned into a long, raucous ovation.”
Forum Opéra

“A subtle, grandiose performance which, with a standing ovation from the moment she appeared at the salute, established Nathalie Stutzmann as France’s leading Wagnerian conductor.”

“The French conductor Nathalie Stutzmann gave a masterly performance, rich in tonal color and blossoming with chamber-musical delicacy, with the Festival Orchestra playing in top form.”

“All this is carried, braided, inspired and deployed by the formidable direction of Nathalie Stutzmann, who receives a rare ovation at the curtain call, one that surpasses everything the singers receive in terms of applause! It has to be said that, first and foremost, she knows how to make the Bayreuth orchestra sound with a profusion of sumptuous colors, knowing how to bring out this or that instrument – the harp, the English horn, the oboe – without ever hindering the continuous movement of the orchestra. Whether in the tiled construction of the crescendos, the shadow effects, the tasteful bursts of brass or the quivering strings, she seems constantly there to project a particular ensemble, to tie in effects with the voices as if carried in the sonorous arms of the orchestra: it’s ample, profoundly romantic yet drawn without languor, without limpness, but knowing how to be transparent when necessary, to carry the story of Rome, for example. Here and there, even, a touch of Italianity colors the phrasing or the ensemble, reminding us that this 1845 Wagner was a contemporary of the Verdi of Nabucco and Macbeth. Finally, Nathalie Stutzmann, as a singer herself, knows how to give her colleagues what they need to inspire and support them, breathing fraternally with them. Exemplary!“
Opéra Online

“Nathalie Stutzmann’s brilliant direction offers one of the finest performances seen at Bayreuth in the last ten years. She erases the rough edges of questionable taste, highlights Wolfram’s passion for Elisabeth and recalibrates the destiny of Tannhäuser and Elisabeth, who will wander for eternity in paradise in the old Citroën tub…(…)
Nathalie Stutzmann’s direction, which drew a standing ovation never before heard in this theater, is to my knowledge and in my memories of twenty-five years of continuous attendance at Bayreuth the first time that the appearance of a conductor has generated cadenced applause of this nature, which speaks for itself.”
Résonances Lyriques

“Standing ovation for French director Nathalie Stutzmann’s resounding debut in Bayreuth’s mystical pit. Undoubtedly, something almost never seen at the Festspielhaus -this chronicler has only experienced it with the last Isolde by the Swedish soprano Nina Stemme in 2006, in the 19 consecutive editions that I have been able to attend the Festival. She is only the second woman to conduct from the Festspielhaus pit in all 111 editions of the Festival.
The keys to this successful debut are easily explained. And it is that already from the overture, Stutzmann immerses herself in the score of the opera with a lively brilliance, in search of a smooth, organic and expressive sound. The phrasing of the strings, luminous in a sublime overture, the control of the dynamics, of a feminine sensuality and exuberant result, the sharpness of the woodwind and brass sections, and a control of the solo voices and a choir, as always extraordinary, they structured a reading of great beauty that seduced and exalted the audience.”
Platea Magazine

May 19-June 10, 2023

The Metropolitan Opera, New York / Mozart's Die Zauberflöte

“Nathalie Stutzmann made her Met debut earlier this month in a musically excellent Don Giovanni; now, with the energy and colours from the orchestra and the superb phrasing from the singers in Die Zauberflöte, she has cemented a place as a leading Mozartian. The shape of all the music was as natural as could be.”
Financial Times

“This is the Best Met Opera Production in Ages
As she did with “Don Giovanni” a few weeks back, Nathalie Stutzmann delivered another tremendous performance from the pit. Pacing in opera is often the responsibility of the conductor, but a Singspiel is another animal altogether with the spoken dialogue often setting the pace more than the musical numbers do. Even so, when that music comes in, the conductor has to know how to integrate it fluidly into the action. And that’s what Stutzmann does so well.”

“Stutzmann was game for anything that McBurney threw her way, but the score emerged in all of its beauty and brilliance. The spoken dialogue was amplified throughout the house, but the singing was not. Stutzmann got the balance just right, as she did between orchestra and singer. The latter was all the more impressive given the placement of the orchestra and the fact that Morley and Brownlee have relatively light voices. As in Don Giovanni, which Stutzmann is also conducting at the Met this month, she intuitively knows how to showcase a singer to their best advantage.”
New York Classical Review

“For this run, Stutzmann, two weeks after her company debut with Don Giovanni, does double-duty Mozart, leading both operas running simultaneously. She conducted this opera’s magical score with brisk but flexible tempi and the Met Orchestra musicians responded superbly.”

“The conductor Nathalie Stutzmann coordinates the performance’s million moving parts with relaxed confidence and an ear for detail. These days, she’s battling directors in two Mozart operas at the same time. She should get a medal for making auteurs sound as good as they do; better yet, she should be paired with a director who shares her genuine sympathy for the score.”

“Musically, too, this Flute scored at a great height. Nathalie Stutzmann and the orchestra seemed to enjoy their rare visibility, with a wonderful sense of camaraderie between the stage and the raised pit.”

“Nathalie Stutzmann, even after her brilliant debut leading Don Giovanni, surprised with her warm, singer-loving approach. Tempos were just right, especially given McBurney’s fidgeting with dramatic timing, and she played through the laughs. The orchestra was its usual remarkable self. Those who miss James Levine’s intense solemnity in this score found it in Stutzmann’s March of the priests, which was so beautiful as to transcend time. Yes, a non-preachy “Magic” flute for all to see and hear.”
Classics Today

“At the helm of the Met Orchestra, Nathalie Stutzmann (who is conducting the same Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the same hall at the same time) delivers a performance full of conviction, finding the right sound balance between the stage and the pit, exceptionally raised (as it was in the composer’s time) to serve the staging.”

May 5-June 2, 2023

The Metropolitan Opera, New York / Mozart's Don Giovanni

“Stutzmann, the music director of the Atlanta Symphony orchestra, is making a splashy Met debut (…). The orchestra sounded polished for her, weighty without being too heavy, the winds beautifully present in the textures from the overture on, the singers never covered. There was no sense of rushing as a lazy way of conveying liveliness, but neither was the tenderness ever bogged down.”
The New York Times

“In the Met’s impressive and perfectly cast production, Ivo van Hove, the Tony Award-winning Belgian theatre director, together with French contralto-conductor Nathalie Stutzmann (both making their Met debuts), attempt to solve some of the layered conundrums of Don Giovanni with characteristic skill and intelligence. (…) Stutzmann and the Met orchestra impart a particular energy – a kind of vivacity and lyricism that is underscored by extreme darkness – into Mozart’s already intricate and impeccable score.”
Financial Times

“The Met’s New ‘Don Giovanni’ Is a Resounding Musical Success
A splendid cast led by Nathalie Stutzmann in an impressive Met debut makes Don Giovanni a must-see (…) But while van Hove’s direction sometimes left me puzzled, Stutzmann’s striking command of the musical side reveals an exciting new opera maestro. Long one of the world’s leading contraltos, Stutzmann only lately turned to conducting. From the first thundering chord of the overture, her orchestra responds with exceptional precision and transparency—particularly the winds.”

“Throughout the performance, the music hummed and soared, driven with ease and elan under the baton of French conductor Nathalie Stutzmann, who also makes her Met debut. Mozart’s kaleidoscopic musical vision, heartbreaking one moment and silly the next, is brought to life with a feeling of effortlessness.
Ms. Stutzmann, who is also a renowned contralto singer, coaxes a feeling of comfort and grace out of the vocalists, sustaining the energy without pushing too hard. Each sound and voice is in conversation, supporting one another, given space to be heard.
Arias segue into recitative sections seamlessly, creating a feeling of continuous musicality that extends to even the comic bits. Ms. Stutzmann opts for the period instrumentation of fortepiano, cello, and theorbo during the continuo segments, adding a historic authenticity that is compellingly offset by the modern visuals”
The New York Sun

“Tremendous control
In the pit, Nathalie Stutzmann put on a fine display in the first of two Mozart operas that she will essentially author this month. (…) Throughout the night, Stutzmann’s interpretation was on point. This orchestral texturing remained consistent throughout, always beautifully intertwined with the singers. This push-pull connection that was so plain to see in the staging was similarly felt in the music-making with the singers given ample space to add ornamentation in arias and even expand recitative passages.”

“Stutzmann was an integral part of what was a great overall musical performance opening night, one of the best one has heard in this opera. (…) Excellent pacing, tempos, and nimble changes of mood and color from the pit.”
New York Classical Review

“Happily, the Met’s new production by Belgian provocateur Ivo van Hove is a success, with a cast filled with wonderful singers–and the Met orchestra and chorus sounding great under debutante Nathalie Stutzmann. (…)
Hurrah for Stutzmann’s debut and her command of the complex score. (And, of course, to Donald Palumbo’s work with the chorus.) Any time the Met can put together a cast like this under a conductor like that, well, that’s fine with me.”
Broadway World

“Nathalie Stutzmann’s dazzling debut at the Met
The great winner of the evening is undoubtedly Nathalie Stutzmann. Enthusiastically acclaimed by the audience, the French conductor made a dazzling debut at the Met. From the very first chords in D minor of the overture, commanding and frightening, she plunges the audience into the drama. She then subtly negotiates the passage to the allegro in D major before unrolling a sumptuous orchestral material under the singers’ voices, whom she never covers, highlighting the richness of the score with precision at every moment. The generally lively tempos adopted provide a few captivating moments of suspension such as the duet “La ci darem la mano” while the final confrontation between the commander and Don Giovanni is led in a spectacular manner.”
Forum Opéra

“Nathalie Stutzmann was as much the star of the show as Mattei, and she coaxed a superb performance from an orchestra now at the top of its game. There were no weaknesses in any section, with especially fine work from the ‘cellos and woodwind. Balance between stage and pit was ideal.”
Music OMH

“Conductor Nathalie Stutzmann’s musical lecture contributed commensurately to the evening’s success. Her ability to turn a traditionally but certainly not authentically playing orchestra like the Met’s into a smooth, transparent and colorful vehicle is extraordinary. Like a luxurious classical limousine, but with a modern, light engine, the strings and winds sounded, pointed where needed, glowing and shining at other times and always in good balance with the singers. The raised orchestra pit ensured that Stutzmann never lost contact with the singers. The natural, not far-fetched tempos and recitatives propelled the drama forward. Stutzmann literally and figuratively gave the performance the right tone. Her debut at the Met as a conductor was impressive.”
Place de l’Opéra

“Nathalie Stutzmann is a singer herself and she was very attentive to the needs of the cast. The pacing of the material was spot on, and I liked the slightly slower tempo she adopted for ‘La ci darem’ as it allowed more space for this most sensuous of seductions to take place. The orchestra fired on all cylinders throughout the performance and there was an excellent balance and rapport with the singers.”
Seen and Heard International

February 12, 2023

The Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Kimmel Center

“among the most exciting performances of this [Brahms first] symphony I’ve ever heard.
(…) principal guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann affirmed her reputation for freshening up the most familiar of warhorses, with an expansive and audacious account of Brahms’ Symphony no. 1 in C minor. It was a case of a work that gets programmed nearly every season sounding as energized as a world premiere.”