Quella Fiamma – Arie antiche

2017 – Warner/Erato

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.

« One has to admire Parisotti’s taste, as well as (not the first time) Stutzmann’s rich, wine-dark voice, noble emotional articulation and, when required, flashing virtuosity. Some of these arias are simply ravishing in her hands, from Scarlatti’s touching vignette of wounded love ‘O cessate di piagarmi’ to Cesti’s ‘Intorno all’idol mio’ (sung with a superb close concentration that has you hanging on every word), and from Caccini’s haunting ‘Amarilli mia bella’ to Durante’s infectiously swinging ‘Danza, danza, fanciulla gentile’. » – Gramophone

« un programme délicieux. (…) Modulant les nuances charnues et minérales de son timbre, notre contralto passe d’une atmosphère à l’autre avec une souplesse stupéfiante. A un extrême, la cantate Quella fiamma de Conti : gravité et dépouillement d’une oeuvre accompagnée par le seul continuo, relief d’un texte sculpté en profondeur, enveloppé dans une ligne noble et vulnérable. A l’autre, Nel cor più non mi sento, bluette boudeuse de Paisiello immortalisée par Beethoven, Paganini, Cabailé, Tebaldi, Bartoli… mais où DiDonato elle-même ne manie pas une ironie aussi tendre et irrésistible. Entre les deux, un Delizie, contenti de Giasone (Cavalli) dont le verbe saillant et le souffle souverain en remontrent aux spécialistes, un Piangero de Handel (Giulio Cesare) qui préfère la présence au pathos, une invitation à la danse (Danza, danza de Durante) aussi fougueuse qu’entêtante. » – Diapason


Listen Buy


Handel – Heroes from the shadows

2014 – Warner/Erato

Heroes from the Shadows makes stars of the unfairly overlooked roles – from Arsamene to Zenobia – who sing Handel’s hidden operatic jewels: Cornelia from Giulio Cesare (‘Son nata’ in duet with star countertenor Philippe Jaroussky as her guest), Dardano’s stately ‘Pena tiranna’ from Amadigi di Gaula, and the sublime, intimate ‘Senti, bell’idol mio’ sung by Claudio in Silla. Stutzmann conducts her superb musicians playing on Baroque instruments, while singing some of Handel’s most virtuosic arias, all with a rare mastery of both arts – neither one in the shadow of the other.
“From early on in my career, I’ve had the fortune of being invited to play the star roles for contralto in these great Handel operas – be it Caesar, Orlando, Radamisto or others,” she explains. “But I dreamed of the tantalising possibilities of immersing myself in the shadows of these works; shedding light on this repertoire of second or even third-tier background roles, often forgotten by audiences as they leave the theatre, but who captivated them for a few minutes from the edges of the main action. They’re a little like the actors that pop up in films, whose names we know and whose voices we recognise but we struggle to recall their names…” Nathalie Stutzmann.

« (…) it is not just a matter of singing slowly and beautifully: in Arsamene’s aria from Serse, the word ‘cor’ at the end of the B section is barely sounded; Ottone breaks momentarily into speech in his aria from Agrippina; and ‘Pena tiranna’, the plaintive sarabande with pained oboe and bassoon lines for Dardano from Amadigi di Gaula is one of several arias to culminate in a surging climactic final phrase and orchestral play-out. Subtle, considered and truthful touches like this make every aria, be it fast or slow, a memorably shaped event. » – Gramophone

« On y entend, avec émotion et reconnaissance, l’accomplissement d’une artiste hors du commun. Nathalie Stutzmann sert Händel avec autorité, profondeur, humilité, et un esprit pointu (Rosmira de Partenope). Les couleurs extraordinaires de la voix ont bien fructifié, avec un creux, une noirceur qui impressionnent, mais c’est l’imagination du style qui emporte la balance. Ni inertie, ni hystérie. Comme dans cet orchestre ductile et plein, d’une rare économie dramatique. » – Diapason


Listen Buy




Bach – Une Cantate imaginaire

2012 – Deutsche Grammophon

For her new album Une Cantate imaginaire, Nathalie Stutzmann has imagined an “ideal” cantata based on the most beautiful music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, including vocal arias of course, but also instrumental pieces and even chorales. Arias of gallantry or tenderness, anger, love, fear or despair… every register of expression comes together in her “Cantate imaginaire”, giving birth to an entirely work with an album constructed in a single, continuous breath. An emotional Gem.

« Stutzmann performs as soloist and director, imbuing these accounts with personality and vision. Her contralto is distinctive — at once voluptuous and androgynous, with an impressively wide range and sure technique (…). Stutzmann really captures the sublime quality of Bach’s sacred music, and the instrumentalists of Orfeo 55 shape the contours and paint the colours of his counterpoint with eloquent grace. The pristine recording throws the details into high relief. » – BBC Music Magazine

« (…) une chanteuse qui sait rendre aux mots de Bach leur poids, leur sang, leur élan (…) une fine musicienne, sans aucun doute, qui porte une merveilleuse vignette du « Petit Livre d’Anna Magdalena Bach », soutenue par un théorbe seulement. » – Diapason


Listen Buy



Vivaldi – Prima Donna

2011 – Deutsche Grammophon

Devoted to Antonio Vivaldi, Prima Donna is the first disc where Nathalie Stutzmann holds the twin roles of singer and conductor with Orfeo 55. In an era when the public acclaimed castrati, Vivaldi the nonconformist preferred the fascinating timbre of female contralti to whom he accorded a place of honour in his operas. With Prima Donna, Nathalie Stutzmann brilliantly illustrates this historic originality by bringing together the most beautiful arias, either famous or unrecorded, that Vivaldi composed for these adored singers.

« Stutzmann’s heady mixture of raw energy, high-octane passion and stunning vocal acrobatics works marvellously in this imaginatively planned recital (…). It’s a « tour de force » not only for singing — Stutzmann also shows great prowess as a conductor, inspiring her ensemble Orfeo 55 in vibrant and expressive performances throughout. » – BBC Music Magazine

« La contralto dirige souplement, mais d’une baguette de fer. La symphonie foudroie, d’urgence oppressive, avec une diction précise des nuances dynamiques par tous les pupitres de l’orchestre. La ligne musicale retrouve ses pleins et ses déliés en une interprétation aussi novatrice qu’équilibrée et bouleversante. » – Diapason


Listen Buy