21 Feb 2012

Natalie Dessay to go on sabbatical

French soprano star Natalie Dessay has announced that she is taking a sabbatical from opera during 2015. She is unhappy with her current work at the Paris Opera, a production of Massenet’s opera “Manon,” and had conflicts with the stage director, French filmmaker Coline Serreau.

The production was roundly trashed by the critics.

On her 2015 agenda, she says in an interview in the newspaper Le Figaro, will be to learn Russian, study yoga and maybe study the art of clowns. She will sing a scheduled “I Puritani” where she will work with her friend, the director Laurent Pelly. At the age of 46, she finds nothing to interest her now in the opera repertory but expressed her continuing passion for musical theater. The opera world might get a pass after her year off.

“Objectively, it’s not opera which bothers me, but certain behavior which I can no longer stand: the lack of artistic integrity, the singers who don’t come to rehearsals and the directors in the hall who tolerate that” she complains.

Her recording of the early songs of Debussy is soon to be released and she is looking forward to finally doing Laurent Pelly’s staging of Donizetti’s “Daughter of the Regiment” in Paris as well as the scheduled “Tales of Hoffman” in Barcelona and San Francisco. There will also be Handel’s “Julius Caesar” in a production by David McVicar at the Metropolitan Opera.

Click here for the complete interview (in French).

Frank Cadenhead