Label raid: Sony snatch prized asset from Warner

Label raid: Sony snatch prized asset from Warner


norman lebrecht

November 01, 2016

Sony Classical are jubilant.

They have signed Natalie Dessay, a French icon, from Warner Cassics which, at it happens is based in France.

This is not good for Warner. Dessay made her name on former EMI under the guidance of Alain Lanceron, who steered her and EMI under the Warner umbrella. She and Lanceron are friends. Their work together has been outstanding.



But with the slowing of record sales she may have become frustrated with the lack of new releases.

Sony were waiting to pounce.

Press release below.


Natalie, with Novak Djokovic


Paris / New York, November 1, 2016 Sony Music Entertainment France is very proud to announce an exclusive long-term agreement with one of France’s most prominent artists, soprano extraordinaire and multi-faceted performer Natalie Dessay, whose recordings will be released worldwide by the Sony Classical division.

The hallmark of Natalie Dessay’s exceptional career has been a constant diversifying, renewing and expanding of her repertoire, from dazzling coloratura to tragic roles, from the fireworks of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” to the most heart-rending and fragile melodies françaises or her immensely successful collaboration with Michel Legrand. Natalie Dessay has pushed the boundaries of her original classical repertoire to Jazz, American musicals and the finest chansons. Her passions and performances are now spanning the entire spectrum of music.

Since her début at the Opéra Bastille in 1992 in Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann”, she has appeared continuously on all of the world’s leading opera stages, from La Scala, Milan, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, winning universal international acclaim for her performances. More recently, she has embarked on worldwide tours of recitals and concerts, her extraordinary stage presence establishing her not only as a singer but also as an actress who has conquered audiences far beyond the classical world.

After 22 years as a recording artist for Virgin Classics (now Erato/Warner), Ms. Dessay’s first release on Sony Classical will be “Pictures of America”, to be released on December 2, 2016. This astonishing musical journey through jazz and Broadway works inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper will be followed in the spring of 2017 by a collection of Schubert Lieder masterpieces.

Commenting on the new collaboration with Sony Classical, Natalie Dessay said: “I’m thrilled to work with Sony, who will accompany me in my new artistic life and new projects like Pictures of America, Michel Legrand’s new cycle of songs or the Schubert album with Philippe Cassard. Working with a new team is extremely invigorating and will allow me to explore new ideas, to go further in my own creativity and my taste for new musical territories.”

Hervé Defranoux, Director of Sony Classical and Jazz France: “Natalie Dessay is one of France’s most exciting and unique artists because she can embrace all musical genres with equal passion and success. She has built a consummate career and a continued artistic relevance without parallel. We are thrilled by the prospect of accompanying and further developing her fantastic musical path.”

Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical: “I have always admired Natalie Dessay’s work, live and on recordings, because of the extraordinary degree of artistic freedom and the many ways of musical expression that she has created for herself. Going beyond interpretations of the standard repertoire, she has pursued many diverse concepts with a curiosity and authority that have put her at the very top of our industry. The Sony Classical teams around the world are greatly looking forward to starting our collaboration with her.”


  • waTT says:

    I assume her health (likely due to cigarettes and alcohol), which resulted in the loss of lung capacity to sing opera, and causes her to cough mid song in recitals, likely played a part. It is unfortunate she didn’t/couldn’t safeguard her health and instrument better, but I wish her well in continuing to perform and grow as an artist – but if she still coughs during songs, she really should have a limited performance life in my view

  • Jackyt says:

    Sony have also signed up Jonas Kaufmann and Juan Diego Florez (both from Decca) in the last year (or so), so they are definitely on a roll!