Conductor

Nathalie Stutzmann (Conductor)

Associate Artist, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
Chief Conductor Designate, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra (from September 2018)

credit: Simon Fowler

Introduction

Visit Nathalie Stutzmann’s Contralto page here.

Nathalie Stutzmann is considered one of the most outstanding musical personalities of our time, with parallel careers as both Contralto and Conductor. Her charismatic musicianship, the unique combination of rigour and fantasy which characterises her style have been recognised by her peers, audience and critics alike. Nathalie is Principal Guest Conductor of RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Associate Artist of the Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and Chief Conductor Designate of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra (commencing September 2018.)

Recent guest conducting highlights with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, St Louis Symphony, Saito Kinen Ozawa Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic and Kristiansand Symphony led to immediate re-invitations this season and the next. Highly anticipated debuts include Houston Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Following her 2017 acclaimed success with Wagner’s Tannhaüser at Monte-Carlo Opera, she will open the 2018 Les Chorégies d’Orange festival with Mefistofele.


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Video & Audio

Discography

 
  • Quella Fiamma More info  

    Label: Erato

    Release Date: 27 Oct 17

    The Arie Antiche compiled by Alessandro Parisotti are known to each and every student of classical singing. But with Quella Fiamma, Nathalie Stutzmann and Orfeo 55 breathe new fire into this primer for the voice, performing these songs and arias with original orchestrations, as they would have been heard in their day. Before they were lessons, they were high art.

    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.

  • Handel: Heroes from the shadows More info  

    Label: Erato / Warner Classics

    Release Date: 14 Nov 14

    Heroes from the Shadows makes stars of the unfairly overlooked roles. 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.

    conductor/contralto: Nathalie Stutzmann

    Orfeo 55

  • Bach - Une Cantate Imaginaire More info  

    Label: Deutsche Grammophon

    Release Date: 05 Nov 12

    Une Cantate Imaginaire
    conductor/contralto: Nathalie Stutzmann
    Orfeo 55
    Review:

    “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.”

    Kate Bolton, BBC Music Magazine, March 2013

  • Vivaldi: Prima Donna More info  

    Label: Deutsche Grammophon

    Release Date: 27 Jun 11

    Prima Donna
    conductor/contralto: Nathalie Stutzmann
    Orfeo 55

     

    Reviews:

    “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.”

    Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine, 2011

     

    “It is one thing to be eclectic, it is entirely another to show the same talent in all fields. Moving to Deutsche Grammophon, with bag and baggage, not to mention a baton, Nathalie Stutzmann certifies that everything she does, she does well.  Under her leadership, the orchestra imposes itself in exemplary manner. The timbres are fruity, the cantabile delicate, the attack free.  The colors vary wonderfully, and she draws from the instruments a wealth of shades.”

    Sylvain Fort, Classica, May 2011

  • 01 Dec 17 Strauss / Mozart RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
    National Concert Hall
    More info  

    “The RTÉ Symphony Orchestra delivered a version of Tod und Verklärung as spectacular as the score”

    “The RTÉ Philharmonic Choir maintained cohesiveness and impressed for the great part of the performance”

    Pia Maltri, Backtrack, 4 Dec 17

  • 24 Nov 17 Handel's Messiah Oslo Philharmonic
    Oslo Konserthus
    More info  

    ” [Stutzmann] oozes music, and embodies both the prophetic gravity of the great tutties and the sensitive sensibility of the more inner arias. It is obvious that she has the orchestra’s trust.”

    Maren Ørstavik, Aftenposten, 25 Nov 17

  • 12 Oct 17 Minnesota Orchestra
    Orchestra Hall
    More info  

    “I was consistently impressed with Stutzmann’s interpretive decisions, graceful clarity of direction, and what seemed to my eyes and ears a strong chemistry with the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra.”

    “Throughout the symphony, Stutzmann emphasized clean, clear phrasing, smoothly shaping the layered textures like a sculptor on the podium.”

    Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press, 12 Oct 17

  • 29 Sep 17 RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
    National Concert Hall Dublin
    More info  

    ‘Nathalie Stutzmann’s triumphant debut as principal guest conductor of the NSO’

     

    ‘New Season, new faces: tonight’s concert was the French conductor and contralto Nathalie Stutzmann’s debut as the principal guest conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. In the previous two occasions she has visited, I have been much struck by her exciting musicianship and her evident bond she formed with the orchestra. All of this should make for a fruitful partnership over the next few years.’

     

    ‘Stutzmann brought this distinctive rhythmic drive to the fore in the opening movement of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 1 making it ripple with energy. Despite its obvious classical trappings, Stutzmann drew a more muscular, meatier type of Mozartian sound from the orchestra, that suited the crisp chords and the more jocose moments. It was all delicacy and lilting phrases in the Andante as the orchestra really listened out to one another.’

     

    Prokofiev’s Symphony no.1 “Classical”:

    ‘I was most impressed by Stutzmann’s consistent attention to phrasing, even in the most innocuous of moments, she had us listening to every note. In the Gavotte, the NSO captured the whimsical character, the delicate flutes and the string pizzicato disappearing into ppp. The finale bustled with joviality and lively dialogue leading to a very satisfying conclusion’

    Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack 01 October 2017

  • 25 Mar 17 R Strauss, Mozart Requiem London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Royal Festival Hall
    More info  

    “Nathalie Stutzmann’s Impressive Conducting Debut with the LPO:

    It was fascinating to see Nathalie Stutzmann (…) in the role of conductor. (…) Stutzmann’s conducting technique is exceptionally clear, and everything she touches emerges as incredibly musical. (…) Taken together, the Strauss and the Mozart Requiem make for a relatively short concert, but one that packed huge emotional punch”.

    “One looks forward to Stutzmann’s return to a London podium with some impatience.”

    Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:

    “Stutzmann had clearly worked hard on dynamic range with the orchestra, from the near audibility of the opening to the crushing climaxes, raw in sound and emotion. The LPO’s soloists were uniformly excellent; leader Pieter Schoemann’s solo contributions were given with a tone that had just the right amount of edge. All of the tempo changes were managed perfectly, with no sense of hangover from the previous tempo. Details like hard-edged timpani underscoring fateful brass, but using soft sticks for the hero’s heartbeat, all contributed to the impression that this was a most considered interpretation. The post-mortem section, full of radiance and hope, was beautifully done, the end a perfect combination of discipline and glow. Placing the double-basses, not behind the cellos as normal, but rather allying them with the low brass, added to the sound’s richness.”

    Mozart – Requiem:

    “Stutzmann plumped for the familiar Süssmayr completion, but there was no hint of the routine from the forces at hand, in particular the London Philharmonic Choir. Perhaps some of that came from Stutzmann’s tempi, which tended towards the rapid side. The trombone lines in the opening ‘Requiem’ certainly brought the idea of church music to the concert hall; but those trombones’ virtuosity was really called upon in the ‘Kyrie’ fugue, a challenge the three LPO players rose to magnificently (specifically, Mark Templeton, David Whitehouse and Matthew Lewis). Again, the ‘Dies irae’ was taken at an exciting speed; and in sympathy, the ‘Tuba mirum’ was a nice two-in-a-bar. (…) Four distinct personalities, therefore, and yet, when the quartet [Kateryna Kasper, Sara Mingardo, Robin Tritschler, Leon Košavič] came together as a unit, the sound was perfectly balanced, as if individuals melded into a quartet whole. One suspects Stutzmann’s influence here.

    Time and time again, Stutzmann’s attention to orchestral detail came through, the orchestra reacting to her direction with incredible flexibility, shading each panel appropriately. Light shone through the ‘Domine Jesu’ as if through a stained glass window; the pure blaze of the ‘Sanctus’ took away the stained glass and allowed us to sit in pure spiritual radiance, while the ‘Benedictus’ had an easy grace”.

    Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, 26 March 2017

     

    “(…) there was no doubt as to the buzz that was engendered. I hope that Nathalie Stutzmann was signed up immediately for return visits to the London Philharmonic.”

    Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:

    “This was Stutzmann’s conducting debut with the LPO and it was clear by the way she kept the layers of the Strauss light and distinct that she knows exactly what she wants. This was music-making that inhabited the score from within, eschewing heavy brushstrokes. In what was as fascinating as cohesive a reading, Stutzmann carefully graded the climaxes to bring the work, full-circle, to its quiet close.”

    Mozart – Requiem:

    “There was an indelible impression of Stutzmann generating a single collective will, with the Choir relishing a singer being in charge and an aptly matched quartet of soloists. This Requiem – as much for the living as for the dead – flowed powerfully, from the mournful bassoon and basset horn keening at the outset, through the thrillingly articulated semiquavers of the ‘Kyrie’ and the outstanding trombone and baritone duet of Tuba mirum (David Whitehouse and Leon Košavić respectively) and so on. The Choir sang magnificently, with a thrilling ping to the tenors’ entries, while their collective standing and seating was impeccably negotiated. In short this was an account for which every facet had been thought through.”

    Nick Breckenfield, Classical Source,  March 2017

     

    Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:

    “(…) a performance of great clarity and insight. Speeds were extreme and rhythms precise, which made the opening heartbeat syncopations almost clinically unnerving. The central crisis erupted with frightening power. The closing transfiguration, which can easily turn bombastic, was, for once, admirable in its restraint.”

    Mozart – Requiem:

    “Once again, terror and compassion combined with precision, whether in the finely honed instrumental solos or the criss-crossing choral counterpoint. The London Philharmonic Choir sang with great dignity and immaculate dynamic control.”

    Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 27 March 2017 

  • 28 Feb 17 Wagner: Tannhäuser Monte Carlo Opera
    Monte Carlo Opera
    More info  

    “Was ein Glücksfall am Pult möglich gemacht hat. An der Spitze des mit gallischem Esprit spielenden Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo steht nämlich die Altistin Nathalie Stutzmann. Die singt zwar immer noch, hat sich in den letzten Jahren aber auch eine Dirigentinnenkarriere aufgebaut. Und dieses Wagner-Debüt ist Wucht und Wonne zugleich. Weil es Stutzmann vom ersten Ton an versteht, dieser Musik einen ganz anderen, eben nicht teutonischen Klang zu geben. (…) Und Stutzmann lässt das jetzt mit einer delikaten Sinnlichkeit, mit sirrenden Streichern und wollüstigen Holzbläsern erklingen. Dieser Wagner klingt erotisch ohne Schwulst, er tänzelt und lockt, setzt auf Intensität und Pianoverführung, liebt helle Farbe, leichte Rhythmen. Das Deutsche, Dunkle, Schwerfällige, mit dem es hier sonst gern durchs Bacchanale stampft, es fehlt völlig. (…) Somit ist diese „Tannhauser“-Sensation am Mittelmeer perfekt. Und Bayreuth für 2019 wirklich im Zugzwang.”

    Manuel Brug, Die Welt, 11 March 2017

     

    “Là, on ne peut que louer la direction de Nathalie Stutzmann, parfaite de style, de couleurs, de dramatisme, de sens de l’architecture wagnérienne, superbement tendue par une battue attentive qui marque avec bonheur le détail instrumental d’un orchestre visiblement heureux de sa confrontation à Wagner (…).”

    Pierre Flinois, L’Avant-Scène Opéra, 26 February 2017

     

    “Saluons d’emblée la baguette réellement enchantée de Nathalie Stutzmann, extraordinaire magicienne, qui galvanise ses choeurs, son orchestre et ses solistes par une direction inspirée, exaltante, large de souffle tragique, enthousiaste. Energique et nuancée, selon les circonstances, sa direction a mis habilement en lumière la vraie nature de cet opéra de transition, annonçant ouvertement au troisième acte, l ‘ « impressionnisme » de Parsifal.”

    Christian Colombeau, Sortir Ici Et Ailleurs, 20 February 2017

     

    “Enfin, on saluera la direction passionnante de Nathalie Stutzmann à la tête d’un Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo en forme olympique. Dès l’entrée des cordes sans vibrato de
    l’Ouverture, le ton est donné: on aura droit à une lecture «historiquement informée» sur instruments modernes, à l’image de ce qu’ont fait Abbado, Rattle ou Jansons dans Beethoven. Fort heureusement, cette option sera défendue sans dogmatisme, avec une conception très chambriste pour mieux faire ressortir les dialogues entre pupitres et les alliages de timbres inédits de l’orchestre.”

    Eric Forveille, ConcertoNet.com, February 2017

     

    “Am Pult – die nächste Überraschung des Abends – die als Altistin berühmt gewordene Nathalie Stutzmann. Sie dirigiert nun und nimmt Wagners musik mit Elan, bedacht auf den Zusammenhalt großer melodischer Bögen. Und sie gönnt sich einige RitardandoAuftakte, die man gern als unidiomatisch bezeichnen würde; allein: Man singt den „Tannhäuser“in Monte Carlo nicht auf Deustch, sondern in französischer Sprache !”

    Die Presse, February 2017

     

    “Nathalie Stutzmann, qui revient pour la deuxième fois à l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo en tant que chef d’orchestre, est très applaudie. Attentive aux chanteurs, elle rend cependant l’orchestre plus présent que de coutume par un son exceptionnel. Sa direction est vivante et contrastée, plus narrative que psychologique. Elle arrive à créer des atmosphères bien différenciées et à maîtriser les ensembles, en évitant la pompe wagnérienne exagérée. Les cuivres de l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo ont un niveau sonore noble et plein, sans jamais forcer. Les cornistes sont remarquables dans la musique de chasse à la fin du premier acte.”

    Jacqueline Letzter & Robert Adelson, Classicagenda, 23 February 2017

     

    “Placée à la tête de l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, la chanteuse et cheffe d’orchestre Nathalie Stutzmann constitue également une excellente surprise : elle s’avère l’efficace ordonnatrice de la soirée. Sa lecture précise, attentive aux chanteurs, rend justice aux richesses d’une partition dont elle fait sonner les moindres subtilités.”

    Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online, 28 February 2017

     

    “Quant à la direction de Nathalie Stutzmann, (…) elle est d’une constante et paisible beauté, avec une très belle gestion des silences, des thèmes (magnifiques échanges Elisabeth/Tannhäuser au début du II), une intégration parfaite de la harpe et même des castagnettes ! Elle séduit dès l’Ouverture (…).”

    Jean-Luc Clairet, ResMusica, 02 March 2017

     

    “Nous ne tarirons pas en revanche d’éloges sur la direction musicale de Nathalie Stutzmann (…). Son travail sur l’orchestre philharmonique de Monte-Carlo et sur les chanteurs du plateau, plus précis encore que celui réalisé avec son Elisir d’amore, n’obère pas sa patte toute féminine qui devient un atout précieux dans sa lecture, certes adoucie, de la partition : la célèbre ouverture n’en fait pas moins entendre d’émouvantes et d’éclatantes sonorités avec des cuivres rutilants de majesté tout en conservant l’élégance de ces enchevêtrements thématiques repris par les pupitres.”

    Jean-Luc Vannier, Musicologie.org, 26 February 2017

     

    “Bonne surprise, en revanche, avec la direction de Nathalie Stutzmann, que l’on n’attendait certainement pas dans ce répertoire. Imposant des tempos allants, [elle] mène ses troupes à bon port, sans craindre de déchaîner parfois toute la force de l’orchestre, par exemple au final du deuxième acte.”

    Forum Opera, February 2017

     

    “Dans la fosse Nathalie Stutzmann effectue un très beau travail à la tête de l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Belle énergie et belle écoute avec le plateau sont perceptibles.”

    Sebastien Herbecq, Bachtrack, 20 February 2017

     

    “Il y a même aussi une contralto, mais dans la fosse : c’est en effet Nathalie Stutzmann qui dirige la soirée, avec un beau mélange d’enthousiasme, de compétence et de sens des couleurs.”

    Nicolas Blanmont, La Libre Belgique, 22 February 2017 

  • 13 Jan 17 Brahms: Symphony No. 2 RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
    National Concert Hall, Dublin
    More info  

    “Two things impressed me with Stutzmann’s conception of Brahms’ Symphony no. 2 in D major : her super sharp rhythmic delineation and these unexpected, unforeseen moments of shy tenderness which I have never witnessed from the NSO or in the context of this piece in any other recording. The latter happened twice, towards the end of the first movement and in the Adagio second movement.”
    “All in all, it was a thoroughly convincing Brahms 2 and what has all the hallmarks of an extremely fruitful partnership between Stutzmann and the NSO for the next few years.”

    Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack, 15 January 2017

  • 24 Nov 16 Brahms Oviedo Philharmonic Orchestra
    Auditorio Principe Felipe
    More info  

    “Stutzmann consiguió extraer todo el potencial de una Oviedo Filarmonía (…) una dirección rigurosa pero flexible que propició el disfrute intenso de una sinfonía en la que siempre se descubre nueva belleza.”

    Codalario La revista de música clásica, 27 November 2016

    “En esta parte quedó patente la capacidad de esta directora. La Oviedo Filarmonía logró un sonido con mucha potencia y un fraseo muy cuidado. El resultado agradó al público asistente en el Auditorio, que dedicó algunos bravos al término de la interpretación.”

    La Nueva España, 26 November 2016

    “Stutzmann entendió esta Primera de Brahms en un crecimiento global que tiene un cénit único en tensión y emoción, romanticismo en estado puro. (…) Largamente aplaudida por músicos y publico la directora francesa ha demostrado que encasillarse en ciertos repertorios no suele hacer justicia, y su autoridad en la batuta ha sido corroborada con este Brahms ovetense.”

    La música en Siana, 26 November 2016

  • 22 Apr 16 Dvorak: Symphony No. 7 St Louis Symphony Debut
    Powell Symphony Hall
    More info  

    “It’s easy to see why she’s met with such success. Stutzmann is spirited and engaged, seems easy to follow, and has a good feel for finding the right tempo.”

    “This was a welcome debut in every way.”

    “The second half of the program was a profound reading of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 7 in D minor… The brass and woodwinds were in splendid voice, and the strings of the orchestra had a flowing Middle European richness of sound quality throughout.”

    Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 22 April 2016

     

    “In the cabaret world we talk a lot about the importance of having a strong emotional connection to the music and lyrics of our songs. That’s the kind of strong connection I heard in Ms. Stutzmann’s approach to the oft-heard works on the program this weekend. It made me hear them in different ways that shed new light on the music.”

    “Maintaining a strong rhythmic pulse and a sense of momentum, then, have always been the hallmarks of a great Dvořák Seventh for me. Ms. Stutzmann’s interpretation had both… it was entirely original and, taken on its own terms, entirely successful.”

    “Ms. Stutzmann’s style on the podium… is as uniquely personal as her conceptualization of the music. She sways and dances with the music, virtually sculpting phrases out of the air with gestures that could be encompass everything from her fingers to her entire upper body. And she does it all with a delighted smile that suggests a real pleasure in the business of making music. That sense of joy on the part of a performer is always infectious and goes a long way towards winning over an audience.”

    Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX, 25 April 2016

  • 26 Feb 16 Wagner RTE National Symphony Orchestra
    National Concert Hall Dublin
    More info  

    ★★★★

    “A beloved operatic overture, Wagner’s Tannhäuser is full of glorious tunes which Queen Victoria, when she heard it for the first time, described as “quite overpowering […] and in parts wild”. Stutzmann downplayed the wild parts as she sought to bring out the inner subtleties of the gossamer music of Venus, drawing expressively shaped phrases and warm sounds from the string section.”

    “Stutzmann deliberately held back the crescendos to great effect while the overall lighter texture of the overture allowed the merriment to show through.”

    Prélude and Liebestod – “Stutzmann delicately crafted the musical line as the crescendo ebbed from section of the orchestra to the other. This was a slow, seductive reading with the melody wooing us, overpowering us as it lingered on exquisite dissonances producing a frisson of desire.”

    “I credit Stutzmann with this superlative interpretation as she dared the cellos to take a fraction of extra time and as she drew a smouldering antiphonal response between woodwind and strings.”
    Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack, 28 February 2016

  • 24 Sep 14 Handel & Vivaldi Orfeo 55, Philippe Jaroussky
    Dr Anton Philipszaal, The Hague
    More info  

    ★★★★★

    “In the words of Sir Simon Rattle: ‘So much love, intensity and pure technique, Nathalie is a true conductor. We need more conductors like her.’ This proved not to be an exaggeration as Stutzmann, conducting with graceful dancing movements, is able to make the essence of the music flow freely to all the corners of the auditorium with liberal musical accuracy, enchanting warmth, endless energy and total abandonment. Like rays of sunlight shining through the stained glass windows of an old cathedral and returning life to the silenced space, Nathalie Stutzmann’s spontaneous inspiration lit up the essence of Vivaldi and Handel’s scores, seen by some as too often reduced to sensible frumpiness and dogmatism in the world of authentic music performance.”

    Wenneke Savenije, Bachtrack, 22 September 2014

RTÉ NSO

Nathalie Stutzmann has been announced as Principal Guest Conductor of RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, commencing in September 2017.

Interviews

Recent Interviews:

BBC Radio 3 Music Matters

Tom Service talks to Nathalie Stutzmann as she prepares for her debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

March 2017

 

Meet the Maestro: Nathalie Stutzmann

The newly appointed principal guest conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra talks to Toby Deller about her dual career.

March 2017