September 25, 2015

Natalie Dessay's Fiançailles Pour Rire out now! A compendium of French lovesongs

The French soprano's latest album delves deep into "steamy poems" set to music by Poulenc, Fauré and Duparc.

"I've rediscovered the song recital," declares Natalie Dessay of her latest album Fiançailles Pour Rire (A Betrothal for Laughs), an eclectic collection of French mélodies united by the themes of love, marriage, and everything in between.

Her partner in crime: pianist Philippe Cassard, with whom she previously recorded a critically acclaimed Debussy album. The guests at the wedding: the Quatuor Ebène, and Natalie's husband, baritone Laurent Naouri.

Together, these very French artists found a fresh approach to French song. "Natalie doesn't make a thing about rolling her 'r's!" jokes Cassard. The songs are "all about love and passion - that's what Natalie wanted," he explains. Among the best-loved mélodies on the programme are Fauré's Mandoline, Spleen and Clair de Lune, and Henri Duparc's Extase.

The album, which Cassard says is "devoted entirely to extremely lyrical romantic songs", takes its name from the cycle of six songs by Poulenc featured in this recital, Fiançailles Pour Rire (A Bretrothal for Laughs). "Passionate love is the central theme of this poetry. We had a great deal of fun, with such serious masterpieces!"

Dessay and Cassard agree: "These are really steamy poems, very daring!"

Fiançailles Pour Rire is out now.