Ah Non Credea Mirarti Dessay Mon

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.

En langue italienne.

  • Melodramma en deux actes (1831)

Que de délicatesse chez ce Bellini de trente ans ! Loin des querelles royales ou des batailles, des grandes figures tragiques, il trouve cette fois son héroïne dans un petit village de Suisse. La modeste et charmante Amina est justement cette somnambule qui s’échappe de sa chambre, devient une autre et traverse la nuit. Il y a du rêve éveillé dans cette céleste partition : les lignes de chant s’y suspendent et l’âme entière de l’héroïne semble y affleurer, les instruments trouvent de transparentes couleurs d’aquarelle. L’élégie y est reine, jusqu’à un des plus beaux airs de tout le répertoire, Ah non credea mirarti, miracle de poésie lunaire. En même temps, Bellini dépeint un monde fort cruel - le nôtre -, où la fragilité et la douceur ont bien du mal à se faire entendre.

Natalie Dessay chante pour la première fois à l’Opéra de Paris un des plus beaux rôles du romantisme italien.

Musique de Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
Livret de Felice Romani d'après le ballet pantomime La Somnambule d'Eugène Scribe et Jean-Pierre Aumer.
Direction musicale : Evelino Pidò
Mise en scène, décors et lumières : Marco Arturo Marelli
Costumes : Dagmar Niefind
Chef de chœur : Patrick Marie Aubert
Orchestre et choeur de l’Opéra national de Paris.

+ d’infos 

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