This 1997 version of Offenbach's operetta classic serves up a veritable banquet for eyes and ears, with the irrepressible Natalie Dessay in the role of Eurydice and Yann Beuron as Orpheus providing a display of vocal and verbal pyrotechnics.
Eurydice - Natalie Dessay
Orphée - Yann Beuron
Asistée - Pluton - Jean-Paul Fouchecourt
Jupiter - Laurent Naouri
L'Opinion Publique - Martine Olmeda
and other singers
Operanet: How old were you when you discovered you had a voice?
Natalie Dessay: I was 20. Before that, I wanted to be an actress. I was supposed to sing in a play I was performing, and I started to take singing lessons so that it would be all right. That's when they told me I had a nice voice and I should study singing.
Operanet: With whom did you study?
ND: No one you ever heard of, private lessons.
Operanet: You never attended the conservatory?
ND: Yes, but that's not where I learned to sing. You don't learn to sing at the conservatory, as we all know.
Operanet: I read that you consider acting almost more important than singing...
ND: It is more important. For me, singing and music are only a means of expression, the goal being a theatrical and emotional experience.
Operanet: Would you say, for example, that it is 60% acting and 40% music?
ND: No, for me it would be 70% theater and 30% music and voice, which is not to say that it is unimportant, because you must have that 30%. You can't say, "I act and I don't care if I don't sing well." You must sing well and make music, be a musician. But that's only 30% of the singer's work, even if that 30% is primordial.
Operanet: When I saw you in the role of Ophélie in (by Ambroise Thomas) in Geneva, I wrote that you sang in just about any position other than one comfortable for singing.
ND: Definitely, because if you want to sing without moving around, all you have to do is give concerts.
Operanet: Yes, but if you are all twisted?
ND: It's harder, but it's more fun. It's more amusing, and I think that physical expression is also part of the theater. You shouldn't hesitate to act as in real life. You don't always stand with your feet firmly planted to say what you want or do what you want. You use your body in all sorts of positions depending on whether you are suffering, you're happy, and in fact you don't even think about it. You don't say, "I'm going to put my feet up against the wall because it will be fun". No, it's because you think it is important for the character to let himself go physically at that moment.