Nathalie Stutzmann opens first season as Chief Conductor of Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra

Nathalie Stutzmann opens her first season as Chief Conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in Norway this week. “Lucky Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra to get Nathalie Stutzmann as Chief Conductor” stated Maren Orstavik of the daily Aftenposten following Nathalie’s concert with the Oslo Philharmonic in November 2017.

For her first appearance on August 30, Nathalie has chosen a programme starting with Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture, followed by Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud. The evening closes with Brahms’ Second Symphony.

Nathalie’s 2018/19 inaugural season with KSO features a wide range of orchestral works by Beethoven, Wagner, Strauss, Brahms, Dvorak, as well as pieces by Ravel and Bizet. See the full programme of Nathalie’s performances with KSO at the link.

Critically acclaimed performances of Mefistofele at the Chorégies d’Orange

“Le véritable maître de la soirée n’est autre que Nathalie Stutzmann, à la tête d’un Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France littéralement emporté par l’engagement de sa direction fougueuse et précise, sensible et contrastée. La contralto (qui chante toujours) devenue chef d’orchestre avec la création de son ensemble, Orfeo 55, possède en outre une belle gestuelle alliant souplesse, puissance et amplitude. Sans aucun doute le meilleur atout de cette soirée qui a porté le public au bord de l’ovation, confortant Jean-Louis Grinda dans le bien-fondé de son défi.”

“The real “master” of the evening is none other than Nathalie Stutzmann, at the head of a Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra literally carried away by the engagement of her spirited, precise, sensitive and contrasting direction. The contralto (she still sings) who became a conductor with the creation of her orchestra Orfeo 55, also has a beautiful gesture combining flexibility, power and amplitude. Undoubtedly the best asset of this evening which brought the audience to the brink of ovation, reinforcing Jean-Louis Grinda in the legitimacy of his challenge.”

Marie-Aude Roux, Le Monde

“La révélation de la soirée est pour nous sans conteste la direction de Nathalie Stutzmann, que nous voyions diriger pour la première fois. (…) la chef a tout pour elle : une technique appréciable dans une oeuvre où il faut coordonner un orchestre wagnérien, des choeurs considérables et des fanfares de coulisse, une gestuelle fluide et souple, un véritable lyrisme.”

“The revelation of the evening is without any doubt the direction of Nathalie Stutzmann, whom we saw conducting for the first time. (…) the conductor has it all: an appreciable technique in a work where it is necessary to coordinate a Wagnerian orchestra, considerable choirs and fanfares behind the scenes, a fluid and flexible gesture, a true lyricism.”

Christian Merlin, Le Figaro

“Le plus grand plaisir de cette soirée est venu de l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio- France, magnifiquement dirigé par Nathalie Stutzmann. Pour ses débuts à Orange, où les conditions acoustiques ne sont pas des plus confortables, la contralto et cheffe d’orchestre s’impose en grande prêtresse de l’art lyrique, maintenant avec souplesse les équilibres entre les imposantes masses chorales et orchestrales, travaillant chaque tableau comme une toile de maître, ciselant les détails, prenant soin d’accompagner les chanteurs en les valorisant (extraordinaire duo d’amour Lontano, lontano de Faust et Marguerite, avec des voix-bijoux serties dans un luxueux écrin orchestral).”

“The greatest pleasure of this evening came from the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, beautifully directed by Nathalie Stutzmann. For her debut in Orange, where the acoustic conditions are not very comfortable, the contralto and conductor became the high priestess of lyric art, maintaining with flexibility the balances between the imposing choral and orchestral masses, working each painting as a masterpiece, carving the details, making sure to accompany the singers by highlighting them (extraordinary love duet of Lontano, lontano by Faust and Marguerite, with voices like jewels set in a luxurious orchestral setting).”

Sophie Bourdais, Télérama

“Pari gagné, également, pour Nathalie Stutzmann (…) à la tête d’un Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France ductile et discipliné, la contralto devenue cheffe maîtrise toutes les composantes d’une partition complexe, voire hétéroclite, marquée par l’influence de compositeurs aussi différents que Verdi, Wagner et Meyerbeer, mais surtout extraordinairement novatrice, dans tout ce qu’elle annonce de l’évolution de l’opéra italien jusqu’aux premières décennies du XXe siècle. Et pourtant, diriger Mefistofele au Théâtre Antique, avec ses gigantesques effectifs choraux éparpillés sur l’immense plateau, n’a rien d’une sinécure !”

“Successful gamble also for Nathalie Stutzmann (…). At the head of a ductile and disciplined Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, the contralto who has become conductor mastered all the components of a complex, even heterogeneous score, marked by the influence of composers as different as Verdi, Wagner and Meyerbeer, but especially extraordinarily innovative, announcing the evolution of the Italian opera until the first decades of the twentieth century. And yet, conducting Mefistofele at the Théâtre Antique, with its huge choral forces spread on the vast stage, has nothing of a sinecure!”

 

Richard Martet, Opéra Magazine

“Mais puisque nous en sommes à distribuer des lauriers, tressons une couronne pour Nathalie Stutzmann, dont la direction musicale a soulevé l’enthousiasme. Pas un instant elle ne relâche la ligne de son parcours : tout y est d’une fermeté et d’une clarté qui trouvent une réponse adéquate dans le jeu des musiciens. Aucune nuance n’a échappé à sa lecture, et l’orchestre les restitue, révélant Boito témoin de son époque, de Berlioz à Rossini, et précurseur de nombre d’Italiens, de Puccini à Mascagni. Le son peut devenir dense, il ne cesse pas d’être transparent, et ce sont des foules de détails qui saisissent tandis que le mouvement nous emporte. Entre finesse et énergie, la direction de Nathalie Stutzmann, fruit d’une maturation méditée et d’une compréhension profonde des enjeux, est un travail d’orfèvre !”

“But as we are handing out laurels, let’s wring a crown for Nathalie Stutzmann, whose musical direction has raised enthusiasm. Not a single moment does she relaxe the line of her journey: everything is firm and clear and finds an adequate answer in the musicians’ playing. Not a single nuance has escaped her reading, and the orchestra restores them, revealing Boito as a witness of his time, from Berlioz to Rossini, and forerunner of number of Italians, from Puccini to Mascagni. The sound can become dense, it does not stop being transparent, and crowds of details seize the audience while the movement carries us away. Between finesse and energy, the direction of Nathalie Stutzmann, fruit of a mature meditation and of a deep understanding of the issues, is a work of art!”

Maurice Salles, Forum Opéra

“Mais tout cela est dynamisé, projeté, déployé par la direction superlative de Nathalie Stutzmann, à la tête d’un Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France des grands soirs, et des choeurs réunis des Opéras d’Avignon, Nice et Monte Carlo. Sachant varier les registres, exalter les couleurs, respirer avec chanteurs et choeurs mais aussi utiliser une palette de nuances sans cesse retissées, elle donne à entendre la continuité d’une oeuvre pourtant souvent morcelée et libère une agogique permanente qui donne vie à la partition : du grand art !”

“But all this is energized, projected, deployed by the superlative direction of Nathalie Stutzmann, at the head of a Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra at its best, and of the combined choirs of the Operas of Avignon, Nice and Monte Carlo. Knowing how to vary the registers, exalt the colors, breathe with singers and choirs but also to use a palette of nuances continually rewoven, she gives to hear the continuity of a work yet often fragmented and releases a permanent agogic which brings to life the score: great art!”

Alain Duault, Opéra Online

“Une telle oeuvre impose aussi un gigantesque travail orchestral où le chef doit avoir à la fois le sens de la grande fresque, la continuité du propos, la lisibilité des états d’âme des protagonistes tout en révélant les innombrables inventions de timbres d’une partition fourmillant d’imagination et en assurant l’inexorable progression dramatique d’incroyables crescendo. C’est toute la qualité de l’immense travail de Nathalie Stutzmann, une remarquable cheffe que nous avons connue comme une merveilleuse contralto. Sa prestation demeurera la grande découverte de ce mémorable spectacle.”

“Such a work also imposes a gigantic orchestral work where the conductor must have both the meaning of the great fresco, the continuity of the subject, the legibility of the moods of the protagonists while revealing the countless inventions of tones of a score swarming with imagination and ensuring the inexorable dramatic progression of incredible crescendo. This is the whole quality of the enormous work of Nathalie Stutzmann, a remarkable conductor we have known as a wonderful contralto. Her performance will remain the great discovery of this memorable show.”

Serge Matin, Le Soir

See the full press review of Mefistofele at this link.

New album: Quella Fiamma, Arie Antiche – Released on October 27, 2017

The Arie Antiche compiled by Alessandro Parisotti are known to each and every student of classical singing. But with Quella Fiamma, Nathalie Stutzmann and Orfeo 55 breathe new fire into this primer for the voice, performing these songs and arias with original orchestrations, as they would have been heard in their day. Before they were lessons, they were high art.

This album is a selection of pieces from Arie antiche, a 19th Century collection of songs edited by Alessandro Parisotti to be a vocal primer. Though now more famous as the editor of Arie antiche, Parisotti was also a composer, and he managed to slip one of his own works into the book by attributing to Giovanni Pergolesi his song “Se tu m’ami”. The collection was very much a part of the trend to rediscover old and forgotten works, and the popularity of the three-volume set has endured to this day.

For this album the musicians of Orfeo 55 have worked painstakingly to source original scores and to edit the parts as necessary. While the instrumental works are not part of Parisotti’s primer, they provide brief musical interludes between the songs to enhance the overall listening experience and bring these works together into a coherent programme.

Order the album here: http://wnrcl.me/arieantiche

 

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Nathalie Stutzmann and Orfeo 55 will take this programme on tour in Montpellier’s Opéra Comédie (November 5), Paris’ La Seine Musicale (February 16) and festivals across France and Germany. Nathalie will also give masterclasses on Arie antiche at the Montpellier Conservatoire (November 6 & 7) and Paris Conservatoire (November 8 & 9), open to the public.