(Born 19 April 1965, in Lyon)
Natalie Dessay is a French coloratura soprano who has become famous for possessing a voice that has a very high upper extension and easy an easy coloratura.
She is also an actress of some capability in both the dramatic and comedic genres.
It was only while studying acting that she discovered she had a voice and therefore shifted her focus to music.
She won a major singing competition in France and after a year of further study at the Paris Opera she sang Elisa in Mozart's Il Re Pastore. Following that she won a further first prize in the International Mozart Competition at the Vienna State Opera.
Following these successes roles quickly followed- "Blondchen", "Madame Herz" (in Der Schauspieldirektor), "Zerbinetta" and "Zaïde" … and in Geneva she sang "Adele" in Die Fledermaus.
At the Opéra Bastille in 1992, she sang the role of "Olympia" in The Tales of Hoffmann directed by Roman Polanski. Although the production was panned it gave Natalie Dessay sufficient attention to set her on the road to stardom
She was to later play the same role for the Vienna State Opera and again received much praise.
In 1994 Natalie Dessay made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the role of Fiakermilli in Richard Strauss's Arabella. She then returned there to sing Zerbinetta and in February 1998 she was a highly praised Olympia.
Following a period of vocal difficulties and surgery in 2002 she withdrew from performing for a year before returning to the stage. Further difficulties arose but by 2005 she was back on stage and further successes came quickly- La Sonnambula, Pamina (The Magic Flute) Violetta (La Traviata) and Lucia di Lammermoor.
She had a major success in Lucia at the Metropolitan and La Fille du Régiment directed by Laurent Pelly in London and Vienna, and a Manon in Barcelona. She opened the 2007 season at the Metropolitan as Lucia and also repeated her role in La Fille du Régiment to wide acclaim.
In 2009, Ms Dessay sang La Sonnambula at the Metropolitan Opera - it was the first new production of the opera at the Met since Joan Sutherland sang it there in the 1960s.