Apr 17, 2007

Dessay's latest extravagance

"Natalie Dessay is either one of today's most down-to-earth opera stars or completely nuts. (or both.)

At the opening of Donizetti's La Fille du régiment in Vienna this month, the French soprano took her first solo bow while manipulating a small, stuffed white Easter bunny that someone had tossed onto the stage, according to our witness at the Staatsoper. When Dessay bowed, the bunny bowed, too, and wiggled its arms.

But that was only the beginning of Dessay's antics. She mock-berated an audience member for lobbing a bouquet short of the stage and into the orchestra pit; Dessay pretended to cry and pout until the flowers were tossed onto the stage. Then she commanded the entire house to give her a standing ovation, turning her stage scowl into a huge smile and nodding her head when the stragglers finally stood.

All that happened during the first curtain call. For a subsequent bow, she came out in the arms of co-star Juan Diego Flórez, who spun her around in circles.

In all, thanks to Dessay's clowning (and the quality of the perdormance), the curtain calls lasted nearly an hour; people would not leave even after the fire curtain came down. Dessay's buffa performance finally ended when she and Florez poked their heads out from behind a light fixture in the proscenium and gave the crowd a final wave."

From Playbillarts.com

Youtube extracts from the 2007 Vienna performances:

- "Salut à la France"
- Duet from Act I with JD Florez (Tonio)
- "Il faut partir", Act I finale Part I (surely the most beautiful part of the opera) and Part II

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