Nathalie Stutzmann – Contralto (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Nathalie Stutzmann – Contralto (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:33:53 minutes | 1,81 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Warner Classics

Contralto Nathalie Stutzmann shines a light on the deep-voiced female singers of the Baroque era, often overshadowed by the extravagant talents and reputations of castrato singers like Farinelli and Caffarelli. Her programme of Handel, Vivaldi, Porpora, Bononcini, Caldara and Gasparini displays the variety of operatic roles – both female and male – assumed by contraltos like Vittoria Tesi and Anna Marchesini. “We must remember that the opera composers of the early 18th century saw the female contralto and the male castrato as vocally interchangeable,” says Stutzmann, “and that the voice most closely resembling a castrato is not the countertenor – produced using a falsetto technique – but the contralto, which is a natural voice.” Stutzmann both sings and conducts Orfeo 55, the instrumental ensemble she founded a decade ago.

Nathalie Stutzmann’s Contralto is one of those albums where everything seems to go wrong until you realize that it’s actually going very right. Conducting an ensemble and singing with it at the same time is just not done because it’s well-nigh impossible, but Stutzmann makes her Orfeo 55 ensemble into an extension of herself. Stutzmann’s interpretations are personal, which is not supposed to be part of the early music ethos, though she seems to put something of herself into every aria. With readings as subjective as this, an artist should choose familiar repertory. However, Stutzmann includes several world premieres (check out the rather stark “Caro addio,” from Bononcini’s Griselda), and there’s not a chestnut in the bunch. On a vocal recital, the audience, one is assured, wants to hear the singer, and Stutzmann departs from the vocal program with a large amount of instrumental music. In a word, Stutzmann is extreme, and it works because that’s Baroque opera, and the larger-than-life heroines here come to life as they do on few other recordings. Vivaldi, whom Stutzmann loves and is perhaps the composer who fires her imagination the most, is well represented in arias that are not at all in general circulation. The sound, too, puts the audience face-to-face with the singer and musicians, something that usually annoys, yet here compels. Many listeners will want this album because it is apparently Stutzmann’s swan song with Orfeo 55, which has disbanded, but it can really be recommended to anyone wanting a taste of what Baroque opera is about.


01. Nathalie Stutzmann – Tamerlano, HWV 18, Act I: “Dal crudel che m’ha tradita” (Irene)
02. Nathalie Stutzmann – Meride e Selinunte, Act II: “Torbido intorno al core” (Ericlea)
03. Orfeo 55 – Ariodante, HWV 33: Overture to Act II
04. Nathalie Stutzmann – Rinaldo, HWV 7b, Act II: “Mio cor, che mi sai dir?” (Goffredo)
05. Nathalie Stutzmann – Tito Manlio, RV 738, Act I: “Di verde ulivo” (Vitellia)
06. Nathalie Stutzmann – Farnace, RV 711, Act II: “Gelido in ogni vena” (Farnace)
07. Orfeo 55 – Berenice, HWV 38: Sinfonia to Act III
08. Nathalie Stutzmann – Semiramide riconosciuta, Act II: “Tradita, sprezzata” (Semiramide)
09. Nathalie Stutzmann – Griselda, Act II: “Caro addio, dal labbro amato” (Griselda)
10. Orfeo 55 – Alessandro Severo: Sinfonia to Act III
11. Nathalie Stutzmann – Arminio, HWV 36, Act I: “Sento il cor per ogni lato” (Ramise)
12. Nathalie Stutzmann – Euristeo, Act III: “Sotto un faggio o lungo un rio” (Erginda)
13. Nathalie Stutzmann – Bajazet, RV 703, Act III: “È morto, sì, tiranno… ” (Asteria)
14. Nathalie Stutzmann – Bajazet, RV 703, Act III: “Svena, uccidi, abbatti, atterra” (Asteria)
15. Nathalie Stutzmann – Statira, Act I: “Mira d’entrambi il ciglio” (Statira)
16. Orfeo 55 – Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Overture – II. Gavotta
17. Nathalie Stutzmann – La fede tradita e vendicata, Act II: “Empia mano” (Ernelinda)
18. Nathalie Stutzmann – Sosarme, re di Media, HWV 30, Act II: “Vado, vado al campo” (Erenice)
19. Orfeo 55 – L’incoronazione di Dario, RV 719, Sinfonia: I. Allegro
20. Orfeo 55 – L’incoronazione di Dario, RV 719, Sinfonia: II. Andante e pianissimo
21. Orfeo 55 – L’incoronazione di Dario, RV 719, Sinfonia: III. Presto
22. Nathalie Stutzmann – Ginevra principessa di Scozia, RV 716, Act II: “Degli Elisi dal soggiorno” (Lurcanio)
23. Orfeo 55 – Alessandro Severo: Sinfonia – I. Allegro
24. Orfeo 55 – Alessandro Severo: Sinfonia – II. —
25. Orfeo 55 – Alessandro Severo: Sinfonia – III. Presto
26. Orfeo 55 – Berenice, HWV 38: Overture – III. Andante larghetto
27. Nathalie Stutzmann – Rinaldo, HWV 7b, Act III: “Sorge nel petto” (Goffredo)