Natalie Dessay Jules Cesar Le

“It’s not that I’m leaving opera,” she told Le Figaro. “It’s that opera is leaving me.” By that, she meant that she was increasingly uncomfortable to be nearing 50 and still playing teenagers. But she had nowhere else to go in the repertory, having never been quite as convincing, vocally or dramatically, in tragic parts like Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor or Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata” and lacking the vocal heft to shift to heavier roles.

In many ways, Handel’s Cleopatra has best fit the bill over the past few years, showing off Ms. Dessay’s high-flying coloratura prowess and her more mature side. Last year at the Met, she was game for the role, if vocally ill at ease. On Sunday, in a smaller hall, with a smaller orchestra and a conductor with whom she seems entirely comfortable, she was more persuasive.

Ms. Dessay’s voice is now an exaggerated version of what it was in her heyday, for both better and worse. The floating, bell-like clarity she used to attain on certain notes may, if anything, be even more uncannily lucid now, and her precision in quick-moving runs — like those in the triumphant “Da tempeste” — remains exceptional. But what used to be just a hint of sour thinness in her tone, which you either accepted as a quirk or didn’t, has become more pervasive.

In “V’adoro pupille,” Ms. Dessay lacked a certain measure of sensuality, and in the great lament “Se pietà,” her phrasing was too curt to build emotional momentum. But Ms. Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée, sounding silky and suave, supported her at every turn, and Ms. Dessay’s voice blended into the instrumental textures in “Piangerò” to ravishing effect.

Mr. Dumaux, who played the villainous Tolomeo opposite Ms. Dessay at the Met last year, was here promoted to the opera’s title role, sounding forceful but without edge as a confident yet sensitive Cesare.

Le Concert d’Astrée was sweet-toned and alert throughout, with crucial solos from the violinist David Plantier and the flutist Sébastien Marq. The ensemble was particularly artful in the Suite in G from Handel’s “Water Music,” a cleverly selected interlude that matched the arias on the program in vivacity and poignancy.

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Двадцать миллионов? - повторил он с притворным ужасом.  - Это уму непостижимо. - Я видел алгоритм. Уверяю вас, он стоит этих денег. Тут все без обмана.


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