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Opera Extracts - Released January 10, 2011 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
The fact that the role of Handel's Cleopatra includes enough music to fill out a CD, and that, combined with the music's demands for immense virtuosity and versatility, makes it a daunting challenge and Natalie Dessay is impressive in her account of these excerpts. Dessay's singing is not entirely consistent throughout the album, recorded in 2010, whether because some arias are simply better suited to her voice than others, or because she was not at her best for some of the recording sessions. While the agility and precision of her coloratura are always intact, in some selections, such as the arias "Tutto può donna vezzosa," and "Venere bella," Dessay's voice sounds lighter than it does on albums from earlier in her career, and even a little breathy in her lower register. In other arias, though, she conveys the remarkable fullness and purity for which she is renowned. "Se pieta di me non senti" is breathtaking; her gleaming tone is practically voluptuous and she spins lines of miraculously velvety smoothness and searing emotional intensity. "Piangerò la sorte mia" and the substitution aria "Per dar vita all'idol mio" are other highlights that showcase Dessay at her most vocally and dramatically dazzling. Mezzo-soprano Sonia Prina as Caesar is a capable partner for Dessay in several recitatives and the duet, "Caro! Bella!" Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d'Astrée, frequent collaborators with Dessay, bring their characteristic finesse, spirited intelligence, and dramatic urgency to the music, and the realizations of the continuo parts are especially inventive. Virgin Classics' sound is exceptionally vivid and present, with good balance. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 6, 2012 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles Classica
Natalie Dessay has an instinctive understanding of Debussy's idiom and a combination of passion and delicacy that makes her an ideal interpreter of the composer's distinctive vocal style. In this recording, made in 2011, Dessay's voice doesn't always convey the supple ease floating above the staff that characterized her work around the turn of the century. She sounds terrific when she can cut loose with exuberance and plenty of volume, as in Flôts, palmes, sables. It's her in her approach to the upper register at a quiet dynamic level that she comes across as less secure. Those moments are few, though, and overall Dessay's singing is beguilingly sensuous and her insights illuminating. One of the chief attractions of the albums is the inclusion of the premiere recordings of four songs unpublished songs Debussy wrote when he was 20, that had only recently come to light. They fit seamlessly into the composer's song output and are likely to become standards on Debussy song recitals. The most distinctive is the ballad, Les elfes, the composer's longest song and one of his most dramatic, which makes extreme coloratura demands and has a wonderfully eccentric piano part. The album also includes La Damoiselle élue, a cantata using a translation of a poem by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, for soprano, mezzo-soprano, women's choir, and piano. Pianist Philippe Cassard is a fully equal collaborator in the endeavor and brings an acute sensitivity and intelligence to the accompaniment. Mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes and Le jeune chœur de Paris deliver lovely performances in the pastel-hued cantata. Virgin Classics' sound has a warm, natural ambience, excellent balance, and is clean and clear. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 21, 2013 | Warner Classics International

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 18, 2015 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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French Music - Released November 15, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Opera - Released February 26, 2021 | Warner Classics

A good retrospective anthology of Natalie Dessay's career has been needed ever since her retirement from the operatic stage in 2013, and this one fills the bill. In the case of the great soprano, the task is made easier by the fact that most of her solo albums appeared on a single label, Erato, as well as simply by the wealth of material from which compilers can choose. Dessay in the late 1990s and early 2000s, from which the bulk of the selections here come, very rarely did anything wrong. Natalie Dessay à l'Opéra does not include anything from the recordings-only phase of Dessay's career in the late 2010s, when she began to record for Sony Classical, but in that phase she focused on non-operatic material, and the collection here does its job well. The compilers do well to avoid a chronological approach, instead devoting one CD each to French, Italian, and German repertory (with encores from Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein). Dessay's versatility was and is part of her brilliance, and she created different vocal worlds by nationality. Listeners will have their own "highlights of the highlights," but has any soprano ever made Mozart's Queen of the Night aria "Der Hölle Rache" sound so natural? Brought such sheer vocal charisma to Manon's "Obéissons quand leur voix appelle"? A few selections show Dessay moving into the vocally darker second phase of her career, and these too are consistently appealing. A variety of orchestras, conductors, and venues are featured, and the remastering smooths over the differences well. Certainly this release is a good choice for those new to Natalie Dessay, but it may also be that longtime Dessay fans will want to hear it as well. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released July 25, 2011 | Mariinsky

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released November 17, 2014 | Erato - Warner Classics

Booklet
French soprano Natalie Dessay has done one thing pretty much better than anyone else out there: dance around in the vocal stratosphere and keep a beautiful, blooming sound going. She has also been impressive indeed in seeming to put herself right in front of listeners in a quiet aria, and she's a fine, charismatic stage presence. All these attributes are present on this two-CD collection of Dessay tracks, which is further distinguished by several pages of photos, not of the singer herself, but of the albums from which the tracks are drawn. This is desirable: a collection of hits ideally ought to be a way into the artist's work, not a final step. The fan or the newcomer to Dessay will find a fair sampling of her specialties here: French opera, the Baroque, the bel canto repertory. The thing is, it's not exactly a greatest-hits album. De l'opéra à la chanson includes at the end a set of eight French chansons and popular songs from outside France. These seem to be intended to pave the way for Dessay's second career as a chanson singer, since she retired from the operatic stage in 2013. There's no telling whether this will work: she seems aware of the challenges, and she adds a nice huskiness to her voice in the French material. At this point there's no real reason to listen to her singing Cole Porter, and her somewhat reedy middle register, also apparent in the Incarnatus from Mozart's Mass in C minor, K. 427, doesn't exactly suit her to popular music. So the collection is a bit of a mixed bag, but it is never dull, and for the most part it's a fair representation of one of the great singers of our age. © TiVo
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Stories and Nursery Rhymes - Released October 18, 2017 | Didier Jeunesse

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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 1, 2000 | Warner Classics

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Secular Vocal Music - Released November 17, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 6, 2006 | Warner Classics

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 15, 1998 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 7, 2008 | Warner Classics

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Stories and Nursery Rhymes - Released November 29, 2019 | Gallimard Jeunesse Musique

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Classical - Released February 18, 1997 | Warner Classics

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Stories and Nursery Rhymes - Released October 15, 2008 | Didier Jeunesse

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Classical - Released October 21, 2013 | Warner Classics International

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