ORFEO 55 • CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Nathalie Stutzmann had always dreamed of leading her own chamber orchestra, and the creation of the Orfeo 55 ensemble in 2009 finally made her dream come true. In parallel with her career as an exceptional contralto, and more recently a second career as an extremely promising guest conductor, the Orfeo 55 project was the synthesis of a 25-year professional career, and indeed a whole life in the service of music, as Nathalie has worked closely and regularly with some of the world's greatest musicians and conductors: Herbert von Karajan, Sir Simon Rattle and Seiji Ozawa amongst others, but also some of the greatest names in baroque music, such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Marc Minkowski.
Today, leading Orfeo 55, Nathalie Stutzmann has imposed her musical rigour, her expressive freedom and all the emotional intensity which have contributed to her considerable reputation as a singer and orchestra conductor.
If the place of Vivaldi, Bach or Handel is central to her orchestra's programme, Nathalie Stutzmann has no intention of limiting its repertoire to the Baroque era, as the ensemble's musicians play both baroque and modern instruments with equal facility, allowing the orchestra to approach a broad variety of pieces in adapting their instruments with great flexibility. For example, Orfeo 55 has recently performed Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss, and works by Tchaïkovsky and Schoenberg are already programmed.
Orfeo 55 varies in size: the number of musicians involved with the ensemble is adapted to the works which they perform. Musicians in the ensemble are recruited individually according to their technique, music skills, sound criteria and flexibility, and notably the ease with which they integrate the group. Orfeo 55 likes to offer a highly personal vision of works which have aroused Nathalie Stutzmann's enthusiasm, and they share them with listeners in performances featuring the greatest capacities for expression, including colours – vocal or instrumental – that are sensual, and a warm, rounded sound that adapts to larger, modern halls such as the Arsenal in Metz, where Orfeo 55 is the resident orchestra.
Strengthened by the intense efforts accomplished in little more than three years, and also by the success of the ensemble's debut recording "Prima Donna", the Orfeo 55 orchestra has already come to the fore of the music scene; thanks to its many international appearances, the ensemble has succeeded in establishing new criteria for sound and expression.