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CANTANTES OPERÁTICAS

 

NATALIE CHOQUETTE

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FERNANDO UREÑA RIB

 

 


Natalie Choquette, Prima Dona y Diva Divinisima en el Teatro Nacional de Santo Domingo
 

 

 

Si el 30 de Marzo del 2004 usted logró olvidarse  (durante dos horas y media) de las sandeces políticas y las penurias económicas dominicanas, es posible que usted haya sido uno de los dichosos espectadores que aplaudió esa noche la actuación de la soprano coloratura Natalie Choquette.  Un Teatro Nacional repleto, se deleitó con delirante entusiasmo de la formidable cantante canadiense que demostró su vieja premisa estética: “la ópera no tiene por qué ser aburrida.”Y no lo es. 

Detrás del personaje de Prima Donna desenfada y jovial,  usted advierte un punzante mensaje ulterior, la ironía irreverente y sabia que recuerda un tanto a Ionesco y su teatro del absurdo, a uno los excéntricos personajes de Fellini, o de Moravia, o a una de las graciosas e irrisibles novias de Chaplin.  Y ese mensaje nos refiere, sutilmente, a la trágica,  situación de abuso y abandono de la mujer frente a la dominación masculina. 

Y es que Natalie Choquette desgaja con encanto y humor la grave solemnidad de las galas operáticas y con ingenio las desmitifica, humanizándolas, creando junto al espectador un terreno común donde éste se siente a gusto, como en casa, como en un restaurante o en uno de esos cabarets de Broadway.  Si cerramos los ojos a la plasticidad de las imágenes que propone y simplemente escuchamos la voz tenemos las más puras interpretaciones de Gershwin, de Puccini, de Bizet.

No se trata de una simple velada de humor. La calidad de su ejecución vocal se debe tanto a una rigurosa formación clásica como a una espléndida cultura musical.  La talentosa soprano juega casi inadvertidamente con las calidades resonantes de su voz, que no sólo alcanzan registros muy altos, sino que se adentran en el espíritu dramático del personaje.  

Las sinuosidades y vibraciones se alternan con chispeantes entremeses musicales en los que de buen agrado participa tanto el director como toda la orquesta.  Hay que hacer notar la aptitud histriónica de la Diva que hace que todos se diviertan y entren a ese espacio mágico y lúdico de la escena, donde los músicos tocan y se ríen y el público aclama las ocurrencias de la vedette, que cambia de ropaje para entonar un memorable tango, o una magistral aria de Verdi.

Entonces notamos el mismo vuelo de la inteligencia que atrapara Borges, quien haciendo literatura erudita, se burla de algún modo de los literatos eruditos, o de Dalí, quien haciendo pinturas técnicamente clásicas se burlara de los clásicos.  Así como el bufón, presente en muchas óperas,  arroja a los pies del rey su carga crítica y satírica, así esta “Diva Diviníssima” nos da mucho qué pensar mientras recorre brevemente, la geografía musical del mundo.  Añádale el hecho de que Natalie Choquette demuestra notables aptitudes circenses.  No le importa hacer una caricatura de sí misma como gimnasta rusa. Durante acrobacias extremas, Natalie continúa cantando de cabeza, sin desafinar una sola nota. 

Y es que su maestría no se limita a la del canto.  Al momento que nacía la (en Tokio) un tifón arrasaba la ciudad.  Desde muy joven la vida de sus padres (diplomáticos canadienses) la obliga a recorrer el mundo. Buenos signos: Tremenda energía, una inusitada dinámica y un espíritu cosmopolita acompañan a esta extraordinaria mujer que habla hoy, sin acentos, más idiomas de los que pueden contar con una mano. 

FERNANDO UREÑA RIB

 

NATALIE CHOQUETTE

Born in Tokyo during a raging typhoon, it seemed Natalie was not destined for the mundane life. As the daughter of diplomats, Natalie studied voice and piano from Moscow to Peru, passing through Rome and Montreal, where she started her singing career with the Montreal Opera Choir and the Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec. In 1991, she launched her first album entitled Natalie with the record label Isba Music. This album cemented what was to become a long collaboration with Isba Music as well as with MCM Entertainment Management. In the years that followed, she released a number of classical recordings manifesting her formidable talent.

It was in 1993, while traveling through Switzerland, that she decided to ally her energetic humour with opera. The formula was to become magical. In a show she created, ‘De Vigneault à Mozart’ where first appeared her character of the comic diva, La Fettucini Natalie received accolades from critics as well as the public.

The following show, ‘Whoever Said Opera Was Boring’ (in collaboration with pianist Scott Bradford) was presented for the first time in Montreal in November 1994, at Le Lion d’Or and then at the Cabaret Juste pour Rire, and was hailed as a brilliant success. Natalie’s career was definitely off the ground. After her premiere presentation in Montreal the show was acclaimed in Quebec and France, where she gave numerous performances in early 1995. That summer, Natalie was wooed by ever growing crowds during the Just for Laughs Festival, the Quebec International Summer Festival, and of Lanaudière International Festival. Shortly after, she released her album La Diva in Canada, Europe, and Asia, which included 13 tracks from the show.

The typhoon seemed as though it would never end as the diva performed show after wildly successful show, here as well as in Europe. In 1997, after a tour of over 120 performances, Quebec presenters justly awarded her the prestigious Rideau Prize for her considerable contribution to the "democratization of the lyrical arts". Her public also agreed by filling up all of the venues Natalie was performing in.

In the fall of 1997 Natalie began recording La Diva II with Saint Petersburg's New Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia. The concert aired on popular television stations in Canada, Europe, and Asia, under the label Isba Music, earning a Felix award for "Best classical album" at the ADISQ gala in 1998. That same year Natalie received the Opus prize during a gala organized by the Conseil Québécois de la Musique. She made her cinematographic debut in Roger Cantin's movie La vengeance de la femme en noir where she played the role of a comic opera singer. Natalie also presented a new series of concerts in France and Italy before taking off for Singapore.

History now repeating itself, she once again left on tour after the remarkable release of her album Diva Luna in Canada and Asia. She toured throughout North America, France, and Switzerland, as well as Japan and Singapore. In the words of a Singapore journalist, "her audience is literally transported into a state of ecstasy". Still in 1998, the Festival de Saint‑Gervais awarded Natalie with the "Jury grand prize" and the "Public’s grand prize".

Was the diva getting tired? Far from it! Back home in Quebec in the summer of 1999, she embarked on a marathon, traveling to 22 cities across the province, marked by an appearance at the FrancoFolies de Montréal attracting a crowd of over 100,000. In September 1999, Natalie returned to her birthplace where she participated in numerous concerts and made an appearance on Japanese television. Once again she received several awards: the International Comedy Festival of Haguenau awarded her with the "Jury's Prize", she took the "Bronze Rose of Montreux"… and entered the Guinness Book of Records for "most costume changes by an opera singer"!

Like a force of nature, Natalie returned to Europe in October 1999, five months pregnant, for the Night of the Proms tour, a venue for rock and classical music where she gave 37 shows in less than 7 weeks with performances in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland.

The diva quickly found her place among the other talents in the tour, notably Zucchero, along with many others. Hailed as the star of the show, she triumphed before 500, 000 spectators. The public applauded her with hysterical laughter as she launched into the chorus of Nessun Dorma by Puccini, gargling with red wine and still managing to hold the note!
After some well-deserved time off following the birth of her daughter Ariane, Natalie returned to Germany at the start of 2000. She visited Taiwan in June before participating in the Danube Festival in Vienna. She left for Argentina in August, where she worked her magic once again.

In 2000 Choquette was applauded on four continents, notably in France, during a six week stay at the European Theatre in Paris where she was warmly received by the public and press.

It is to her audiences' great joy that she continued her ascension, sharing her voice around the world. She achieved a stunning success in January 2001 with a concert in Buffalo accompanied by the city’s symphonic orchestra; in February she stole the show from numerous artists of international renown as all participated in an enormous concert in Cologne, Germany, before 12,000 spectators. The exceptional show was televised Easter Saturday across the European networks, where it was watched by 50 million people. Shortly after, Natalie received a 20-minute standing ovation by the patrons of the prestigious Vienna Konzert Haus. On her return, Natalie entered the studio, this time to record her 8th album, the Noël de la Diva, on which both her daughters contributed, which was released in November 2002. The reviews were very favourable, and the release of the album attained fame by charting in the top-ten best-selling Christmas albums.

Back in Quebec, the diva recorded a made-for-television show, La Diva et le Maestro, with the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of Charles Dutoit. The televised recording was to be aired in 2002 and broadcast across Canada, Europe, and Asia. Following this, Natalie performed La Prière de la Diva across Canada, a show tailored for the holiday season with songs in twelve different languages. 

In 2003, Natalie Choquette’s world tour continued at a dizzying rate. The hilarious soprano coloratura has enchanted all her audiences with her effervescence and her perfect mastery of voice. She also gave a series of concerts in Holland, Austria, Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Japan, Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam during the francophone summit, the United States and several South American countries.

In 2004, the Diva succeeded in squeezing the Night of the Proms tour in France into her schedule: she shared the scene with Joe Cocker, James Brown, Rock Voisine, The Pointer Sisters, Patrick Fiori, John Miles, and Roger Hodgson (Supertramp) in 10 French cities including Paris, where she appeared at the Zenith Theatre. The sixteen date tour achieved tremendous success, hitting home with thousands of fans.

In November 2004, our diva receives an honorary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa. 

Since her debut, close to 2 million live spectators around the world have been won over by the exceptionally talented Quebec artist, and as if this weren't enough, our globe-trotting diva recorded her 10th album here in Montreal entitled, Aeterna, which was released on November 9th 2004. Since its release, this magnificent album, has charted itself among the top selling albums of the year, and winner of the “Classical album of the year (vocal)” at the gala of l’ADISQ in 2005. 

In 2005, the Diva continued to appear on the international music scene with concerts in France, Mexico, Canada, USA, Viet Nam, Taiwan, Monaco, Italy, Germany and Peru. Natalie also participated in several shows featuring the Roncalli Circus in Germany.
She then released Aeterna Romantica followed by a major Canadian tour. This album also won the 2006 “Classical album of the year (vocal)”.

In the Spring of 2006, Natalie released a new DVD, “La Diva”, which includes the complete performance of her show “La Diva and the Maestro”, the video clip for Vox Divina from her latest album “Aeterna Romantica”, the multiple-award short film “Fata Morgana”, and a compilation of highlights from that show.

In the summer of 2006, Natalie created with veteran show producer Michel G. Barette, Debby Brown and the Plasticiens Volants a mega show entitled « La Reine et la Perle », a circus based fantasy for “Le Festival d’été de Québec” presented on the famous Plains of Abraham.

The third album and final release of the Aeterna trilogy entitled Aeterna Celesta, was launched in the fall of 2006 and for the third successive year, garnered once again the Felix award for “Classical album of the year (vocal)”. To date thanks to the sale of Aeterna concerts and albums a total of $30,000 has been raised for the Quebec Cancer Foundation for which our Diva is the spokesperson.

The Aeterna Trilogy was packaged as a box set and released in the fall of 2007 and has sold over 5,000 units in Canada. Natalie Choquette is by far the best selling classical artist in Canada.

In 2007, la Diva creates 3 new shows: The Trout & Schubert accompanied by 2 sisters Laurence and Camille Lambert-Chan, Blue Mammy with John Roney, with a stage presentation by Michel G. Barette, and Ladies' Lament (Les dames de ces messieurs) for the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, as well as several other Canadian orchestras.

2008 was also a year full of creative projects: Entrez dans la danse, with harpists Robin Grenon and Gisèle Guibord, then the recording of a new concept album and concerts in foreign countries! Japan, Germany, China and Portugal welcomed our grand Diva at the beginning of the year! During this time, our diva prepared a new opus entitled Terra Mia released in December with 16 songs sung in 10 different languages where Natalie celebrates love with compositions and traditional pieces sung in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, English and Creole. Inspired by the repertoire of this record, Natalie gives birth to a new show « Diva World Tour in Québec » with virtuoso pianist John Roney and stage producer Michel G. Barette.

In 2009, she plays the leading role in a short film: The Perfect Vacuum by Alana Cymerman. She is also very busy with her live shows: Ladies’ Lament in English Canada she also produces La Diva and the Vampire for the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and Like Mother, Like Daughters with her 3 daughters: Florence K, Éléonore Lagacé and Ariane Lagacé, presented at Place des Arts in Montréal.

Following the success of Terra Mia (over 10,000 copies sold) Natalie has recently completed a follow up album entitled Terra Bella, in the same style and continues her concerts throughout the world in 2010 (France, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao).

This Spring in Canada, she premiered a new show entitled Mimi, La Diva Malbouffa, explaining opera and good eating habits to children. A new album and a new tour are planned for the upcoming year.

ÓRFICA

FERNANDO UREÑA RIB

CUENTOS

LA INICIACIÓN

CELAJES

MALENANORADA

EL NAHUAL

PULPO A LA GALLEGA

LA PORTEÑA

LA TOSCANA

LA PUTANA DE PERPIGNAN

LA TORRE VIGILADA

LA SOLUCIÓN EN EL OMBLIGO

LA VENUS DE TABOGA

LA SALAMANDRA

VIENTOS DEL NORTE

LA VINDICACIÓN DE OMAR

EL ABRAZO

OBRA PICTÓRICA

ABSTRACCIONES

AMAZONAS

CRISÁLIDAS

DIBUJOS

FIGURACIONES

FORTUNA

ONÍRICA

LÚDICA

ORÁCULOS

DADORAS

NINFAS

OCEÁNICA

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Revisado: May 01, 2013
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