The French soprano, 48, has spoken for several years of wanting to fulfil her dreams in spoken theatre. In an interview with Sean Martinfield for the website of the San Francisco Examiner, she says that Manon in September may be her final opera.

“I want to change my life,” she says to me. “I want to go into straight theatre.”

In September, Natalie will be in Toulouse to sing Massenet’s Manon. It may be her last appearance on the operatic stage.

“Yes, I think so. I did my real ‘debut’ 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.”

Natalie DessayCrédit : Simon Fowler/EMI Classics