I want to change my life – I want to go into straight theatre.
After the summer Dessay is slated to sing Massenet’s Manon in Toulouse, and it could well be her adieu to the operatic stage.
I did my real début in Toulouse, in the chorus. I had started off as an acting student. That was my real passion. That is my real passion. It’s just a detour of thirty-three years—to finally get back to my first goal. There’s nothing left for me to sing. I’ve done most of the roles I could do. I don’t want to play Juliette. At my age? Please! Or Lucia or Adina or anything else like that. That’s why I’m quitting. You have to love your repertoire. For a while I thought it was fun, but no. On to something else.
Singing was not a priority but provided her with a shortcut to getting on stage.
My voice was very tiny. I had to work like a dog. But for me, it was the only way to get on stage quickly and be able to play. It was always said that I have the voice of an angel, but I’m really a witch. It’s a real problem. And the more I’m aging, the more it is a problem. Remember, I am an actress. I don’t want to play myself. I want to play other people.
She also looks for the actor in other singers, not the voice.
I hate [the coloratura] voice. I never had any problem with the repertoire. My idol is, was, and will be Maria Callas. That’s not very original, but that’s it. Also Renata Scotto. I worked with her. She’s fantastic as a teacher. I like the actresses. I don’t care about the voice. A beautiful voice in a body that doesn’t act does not interest me more than five minutes. So, I’m not a good audience member for opera.
Addio, del passato.
Photo by Simon Fowler