The versatile operatic baritone Stéphane Degout has been a frequent sight on operatic stages in his native France, the U.S., Italy, and elsewhere since coming on the scene in the late '90s. In addition to mainstream Italian, German, and French repertory, he has also appeared in early music productions and is adept in the French mélodie repertory. Degout was born in Bourg-en-Bresse in eastern France on June 9, 1975, and grew up in nearby Saint-Jean-de-Niost. He attended the Lycée Saint-Exupéry in Lyon, went on to the National Conservatory of Music and Dance, and has continued to live in France's second city. His major role came in 1998 at the Opéra National in Lyon, as Pagageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and he reprised the role in Aix-en-Provence in 1999. Degout studied with Margreet Honig at the conservatory and took master classes with, among other prominent singers, Régine Crespin and Gundula Janowitz. A second prize in the 2002 Plácido Domingo Competition boosted his profile beyond his home region, and since then he has appeared at many of the world's top houses. At the Theater an der Wien he has sung Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte and the title role in Monteverdi's Orfeo; at London's Covent Garden he has been seen as Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola and as Mercutio in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette; and he has made multiple appearances at both the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In the early music field, he has worked under conductors René Jacobs, William Christie, Emmanuelle Haïm, Marc Minkowski, and Christophe Rousset. Degout also lists several premiers of contemporary operas among his credits; he was cast in the premiere of Benôit Mernier's La Dispute in 2013 and in three operas by Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans: Au monde (2014) and La monnaie and Pinocchio (2017). The year 2018 saw the release of no fewer than three Degout recordings: a Pinocchio recording was issued on the Cypres label; the aria recital Enfers (with Raphaël Pichon) appeared on Harmonia Mundi; and he was the baritone soloist in Charpentier's Leçons de Ténèbres under conductor Jonathan Cohen on the Hyperion label. Degout was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2012. ~ James Manheim
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Classical - Released October 27, 2017 | B Records
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
This is with a touching document that begins this album devoted, for the most part, to Apollinaire’s poems put into music by Poulenc: the poet reading his own “Le Pont Mirabeau” during a reception at the Théâtre de l’Athénée in 1911. This is in this very theater that the baritone Stéphane Degout, accompanied at the piano by Cédric Tiberghien—also joined by flutist Matteo Cesari and cellist Alexis Descharmes on Ravel’s Chansons madécasses—delivers a nice handful of cycles of Poulenc’s melodies, that is to say Le Bestiaire, Calligrammes, Banalités and Quatre poèmes, the top of the composer’s art in this domain. The album concludes with Ravel and his Histoires naturelles. Degout and Tiberghien of course know of the recordings made by Poulenc himself at the piano with Pierre Bernac, but they soon realized that the notes of the composer on his own partitions—that are often of a meticulous precision—don’t really reflect what he himself took the liberty to do; hence their very free interpretation, a true reappropriation of the partition, which brings a whole new reading to the work. © SM/Qobuz
Classical - Released March 8, 2019 | B Records
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Short just as love, life, poetry, and a winter concert given at the Théâtre de l’Athénée, this new B Records album proposes a program of musical miniatures, from Fauré to Schumann and Brahms. An opportunity to hear the baritone Stéphane Degout, one of the best french melodists, and his partner Simon Lepper behind his piano, in a sometimes soft, sometimes stormy, always romantic album.
Art Songs, Mélodies & Lieder - Released January 17, 2011 | Naive
Canadian baritone Stéphane Degout is no novice to recording, with a number of very fine efforts to his credit, including Bertrand the Billy's La bohème, the Fauré Requiem with Accentus, and Ein deutsches Requiem with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, but this 2010 recital of Romantic and post-Romantic French mélodies represents his first solo venture. Degout has a big, resonant voice that's appealingly warm and solid throughout. He approaches each of the songs with intelligent musicality and obvious passion. He brings all the material a convincing dramatic flair that is especially evident and impressive in the Debussy and Ravel cycles. His is not the most colorful or nuanced voice, though, so he misses some of the subtlety that can mark the most sublime performances of these songs. He is especially strong in the passages where he can cut loose with heroic abandon, in songs like Duparc's Le Galop, but he is also effective in lyrical, meditative pieces like Debussy's Le Son du cor s'afflige vers les bois and Ravel's Le cygne. Pélleas is one of his stage roles, and it's easy to hear how the sensitivity and naturalness of his phrasing would serve him well in that opera. Degout has put together an attractive program that includes a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar repertoire. He balances well-known pieces like Ravel's Histoires naturelles, Debussy's Trois Ballades de François Villon, and songs by Duparc and Hahn with more obscure songs by Saint-Saëns, Chabrier, and some early Debussy. Pianist Hélène Lucas, a long-term collaborator of Degout's, is clearly in sync with the singer's pacing and provides a sensitive and colorful accompaniment. The miking seems very close to the singer; his sound might have benefitted from a more spacious, uncrowded ambience.
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