Natalie Dessay / Michel Legrand

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Biography

Entre elle et lui

Two French powerhouses join to produce an unforgettable evening as Natalie Dessay, world renowned opera virtuoso, joins the legendary Michel Legrand, composer of some of the most famous musical soundtracks in history.

Weaving together the voice, piano, bass, and drums, Legrand and Dessay bring to life famous film scores from Hollywood and French Cinema including a duet from Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), the Lilac Fairy’s song from Peau d’ane, and the sisters’s duet from Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort), performed by Dessay and fellow soprano Patricia Petitbon. The collaboration also embraces selections from Legrand’s Oscar-winning compositions from the 1983 Barbra Streisand film Yentil and the 1968 Steve McQueen movie The Thomas Crown Affair. Special guests include distinguished harpist Catherine Michel, Michel Legrand’s wife and the bass-baritone Laurent Naouri, the husband of Natalie Dessay. Together it is a tribute to a legend of modern French composing with one of the most complete and adaptable French opera stars of her generation.

Dessay describes her gravitation to and affinity for the world of popular song as “an art that can demand great refinement. A song like Georges Brassens ‘Saturne’ has as much value, for me, as an opera by Bellini. In opera, you open up and let go. In a popular song, like when you’re singing German lieder or French art-song, you have to concentrate your voice – to learn to say a lot with less power, especially if you are using a microphone.” She first became aware of Legrand at the age of six or so, when she saw the film directed by Jacques Demy, the fairy tale Peau d’âne. “At the time, I would never have imagined singing with him…I think Michel Legrand is a genius, just as Mozart was a genius. He is also a melodic virtuoso. You hear two notes and you know it’s one of his songs.”

Dessay and Legrand will be touring from September 15-30, 2014 and will feature the songs from the album “Entre elle et lui” which include: Legrand Chanson de Delphine, Le Cinema, Chanson de Delphine a Lancien, Papa can you hear me, Recette pour un Cake d’Amour, La valse des lilas, Les Moulins de Mon Coeur, L’ame soeur a l’hamecon, What are you doing the rest of your life?, Chanson des jumelles, Le rouge et le noir, Conseil de la Fee Lilas, Duo de Guy et Genevieve, La chanson de Louba, La chanson, Paris Violon, The summer knows, Mon dernier concert.

More about Natalie Dessay and Michel Legrand

After more than 45 years of composing Michel Legrand has succeeded in meeting one singular challenge, the living of several lives in one lifetime. Not content staying within the bounds of the Paris Conservatory where he had studied since he was ten under the likes of Nadia Boulanger, he has played Jazz with Miles Davis, composed film scores with Jacques Demy, and worked with classical greats such as Maurice André. As composer, conductor, pianist, singer, writer and producer he is at home in any musical situation tearing down the barriers between jazz, classical music and easy listening.

French soprano Natalie Dessay is one of the stars of today’s operatic world, thrilling audiences as both a singer and an actress. Born in Lyons in 1965, Natalie Dessay grew up in Bordeaux where she first dreamed of becoming a dancer, but later studied acting and singing at the Bordeaux Conservatoire. Now an admired interpreter of bel canto and lyric heroines such as Violetta (La traviata), Lucia di Lammermoor, Marie (La Fille du régiment), Amina (La sonnambula), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Manon, Juliette, Ophélie (Hamlet) and Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Dessay originally made her reputation with showpiece coloratura roles such as Offenbach’s Olympia,  Mozart’s Queen of the Night and Strauss’ Zerbinetta. Currently she is on sabbatical from the Opera world through 2015 and is now engaged in new challenges and passions.

Natalie Dessay and Michel Legrand will be presenting their unique partnership in South America in the second half of September, 2014.