Considered one of the rare authentic alto voices of our time, singer Nathalie Stutzmann also devotes part of her career to conducting, which she studied with two exceptional masters: Jorma Panula (who trained Sir Simon Rattle in particular) and Seiji Ozawa.
With the founding of the Orfeo 55 ensemble in 2009, a lifelong dream of Nathalie Stutzmann's came true: having her own chamber orchestra.
Devoted to Antonio Vivaldi, Prima Donna is the first disc where Nathalie Stutzmann holds the twin roles of singer and conductor.
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.
Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Orfeo 55 with the musical rigour, expressive freedom and emotional intensity that are hallmarks of her reputation as a singer.
“Once heard, never forgotten, Stutzmann's dark, coppery contralto has an androgynous quality. Fiery and icy, her expressive nuances are varied but never excessive. She is also a proficient conductor: singer and players breathe as one.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2011 *****
“Stutzmann's honest musicianship, the superb playing of her ensemble and the well-chosen light and shade of the programme combine to make a exceptional recital.” Classic FM Magazine, September 2011 *****
“her intelligent command of Orfeo 55 brings taut and vibrant results...It is Stutzmann's matchless singing that makes this disc...[She] realises them all with a sombre beauty of tone that melts the heart and an emotional focus that commands the attention...this is a must-have not just for Vivaldi fans but for anyone with a taste for Baroque vocal music performed at the highest level.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2011
“Stutzmann is particularly delightful in the da capo [of 'Lascia almen che ti consequi'], in which she reduces her tone to such an intimate level that one feels she should be singing it in private. She eases her voice in long, smooth phrases through the tranquil 'Sovvente il sole' from the serenata Andromeda liberata, an illustration of her control...The recording of both voice and orchestra is first-rate, contributing greatly to a rewarding selection of music.” International Record Review, July/August 2011