Le miracle d’une voix is a compilation of scenes from various recordings in which Natalie Dessay featured made between 1993 and 2003. It’s especially interesting in that a couple of pieces feature more than once. There are three Les oiseaux dans les charmilles; Olymia’s aria from Les contes d’Hoffmann and two Grossmächtigen Prinzessin from Ariadne auf Naxos. Thrse demonstarte what I have always believed to be Dessay’s greatest strength; her ability to recreate a character to fit in a particular production. The two Zerbunetta arias illustrate this perfectly. In the first, a Salzburg production from 2001, Zerbinetta is a depressed, heavy drinking, prostitute who celebrates a kind of deeply sad sisterhood with Ariadne before being dragged off by a very sleazy Russell Braun. In the second, from the Palais Garnier in 2003, she’s a bubble headed tourist in bikini and wrap who pesters poor Ariadne all around what looks like a Mediterranean building site. They are completely different characterisations but both highly effective. The same is true of the three Olympias who range from very conventional doll to inmate in some sort of asylum or home.
There are a total of thirteen pieces on the disk showcasing many of Dessay’s most famous roles. Both Queen of the Night arias are featured including a Der Hölle rache with a very unfortunately costumed Dorothea Röschmann. The mad scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor; in French and with a narrowly avoided wardrobe accident, and Hamlet, with lots of blood, are included as well as an excerpt from a film of L’enfant et les sortilèges and a piece from Candide sung in concert. The disk begins with Strauss’ Frühlingstimmenwaltzer interpolated at Orlofsky’s party in a horribly conventional looking Vienna New Year’s Fledermaus and ends with the Duo de la mouche, sung with husband Laurent Naouri from their rather wonderful recording of Orphée aux enfers which has rightly been described by English mezzo Emilie Renard as “FILTHY”.
Each piece is introduced by Miss Dessay with the characteristic dry wit which seems to have got her banned as host for MetHD broadcasts. So, all in all it’s lots of fun with some very fine singing and even better acting. Yes I am a member of her fan club. Technically it’s a bit mixed as the broadcasts span a ten year period. Most are 16:9 but there’s the odd piece filmed in 4:3 aspect ratio. The DTS surround sound is consistently good though. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.