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Musical World

Yannick Nezet-Seguin

  • Conductor


Yannick Nézet-Séguin press reviews

This Mahler was big and beautiful
'This was a stunning performance, easily the best live Eighth I have heard. [...] There is no need to go to Europe, or even the United States, to find a bona fide Mahler conductor. All of those trademark YNS twists and turns and dips and gestures melded seamlessly into the score. There was no feeling of discrepancy between what Mahler wanted, what the conductor asked for, and what the performers gave him.'
Arthur Kaptainis, The Gazette, 21 June 2010
Mahler Symphony no.8, Orchestre Metropolitain / National Arts Centre Orchestra, Salle Wilfried-Pelletier, 20 June 2010

**** 'Stravinsky’s miniature tone-poem Fireworks [was] an exquisitely controlled display of musical catherine wheels, golden rain and roman candles. 
[The real pyrotechnics] was a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony breathless in its intensity, yet never driven, and everywhere delicious in the bright detail of its dance. The coiled-spring opening was a huge upbeat to the flute’s lead as dancemaster--and what fun the conductor had with the second violins. A sudden segue into the dark, rapid pulse of the second movement; then a light-footed, scurrying Scherzo propelled into a finale of intense and thrillingly levitating energy.'
Hilary Finch, The Times, 14 April 2010

***** 'I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more brilliant or revealing account of Stravinsky’s Fireworks. The apparent madness of assembling such a huge orchestra for a mere four minutes of music seemed almost justified and, of course, it effectively lit the touch-paper for the Beethoven Seventh. This was, in a word, combustible. Like the Stravinsky, it was up there with the rare and indelible. Marrying his instinctive understanding of phrasal ebb and flow to thrilling rhythmic impetus Nezet-Seguin willed the LPO to an almost delirious dynamism. His telling and unexpected attacca from the first to second movement and again from bounding scherzo to headlong finale compounded an irresistible urgency that characterised even the sublime Allegretto. Stunning.'
Edward Seckerson, The Independent on Sunday, 11 April 2010


'Getragen wird der Abend aber auch von Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Der momentan schwer angesagte kanadische Dirigent bietet mit dem sinnenfroh aufspielenden Mozarteum-Orchester Salzburg und dem schlagkräftigen Wiener Staatsopernchor eine tolle Leistung. Hochromantik zum Träumen: duftig, blumig, gewalzert und, wenns sein muss, auch schmissig mit Tschingderassabum. Das Publikum tobt.'
Otto Paul Burkhardt, Südwest Presse, 12 August 2010
Gounod: Roméo et Juliette, Salzburg Festival

'Und Dirigent Yannick Nezet-Seguin machte dort weiter, wo er bei der Premiere mit sehr guter Leistung aufgehört hatte. Er animierte das Mozarteum-Orchester Salzburg zu deutlichen Stellungnahmen, was bei dieser ins Glatte neigenden Musik eine gehörige Substanzaufwertung bewirkte. Größter Applaus, welch Überraschung.'
Der Standard, 11 August 2010
Gounod: Roméo et Juliette, Salzburg Festival

Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducted a supreme ensemble that shifted effortlessly from the tight unit underpinning the soloists on stage to the poignant solo woodwind or harp that heralded the start of one of the singer's finer vocal performances.
George Jahn, Associated Press, 10 August 2010
Mozart: Don Giovanni, Salzburg Festival

The Metropolitan Opera's new Carmen has three outstanding elements - its Carmen, its Don José and the conductor - and their relative importance may well be in reverse order.”
Yannick Nézet-Séguin [...] makes a strong company debut and he does so in a counterintuitive way. His is not in the dominating, forceful manner that calls attention to the conductor's interpretation. He is not imposing like a Toscanini, Karajan or Muti. Instead, Nézet-Séguin shapes his concept around the vocal subtleties of each duet and ensemble as he encourages each singer to express his or her feelings. The result is an intimate, personal expression of emotions from the characters.
[...] This conductor breathes and flexes with the words, but he never sounds indulgent and most of his tempi are brisk. Act 2 is an excellent example of how he keeps a firm line as he and the singers build inexorably to the denouement.”
Steve Cohen, The World of Opera – The Opera Critic, 18 January 2010
Bizet: Carmen, Metropolitan Opera

Bizet lays on the Spanish local color in Carmen with a determination that foreshadows Puccini's Orientalisms in Turandot. But to his credit the rising Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in his Met debut, kept the score sounding quite French, insofar as that is possible, especially since the Guiraud recitatives are used in lieu of spoken dialogue. Nézet-Séguin began with a prelude that was almost disturbingly fast, yet it served as an apt point of departure for a vivacious reading that helped keep the proceedings lively.
George Loomis, Musical America, 4 January 2010
Bizet: Carmen, Metropolitan Opera


'This is sensational: Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Rotterdam will surely be one of those partnerships that magically adds up to more than the sum of its orchestral parts. There is a suppleness and vivid characterisation in the sound; Ravel's orchestration sparkles without ever sounding merely sumptuous. I defy you to not gasp with sheer pleasure at the build-up of the Daphnis suite, and the attention to detail and transparency in the evocative Mother Goose suite is spine-tingling. But surely the neglected Valses nobles et sentimentales should be separated from Ravel's climactic masterpiece La valse, whose overwhelming post-war deconstruction of the waltz deserves to be heard last. Brilliantly played and superbly recorded.'
Nicholas Kenyon, The Observer, 31 January 2010
CD: Ravel - Daphnis et Chloë, La Valse, etc. / Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (EMI)

***** 'From the outset of the Lever du jour section of the second Daphnis suite, Nézet-Séguin’s ear for Ravel’s evocation of the twilit moments before dawn, and the spectacular sunrise, are fabulous. [...] In the Pantomime, the palette of colour he finds in the flute section alone is ravishing, and I’ve heard few more exhilarating Bacchanales on disc. In La Valse, he conjures up the sense of the waltzers emerging from behind several gauzy curtains, and I like the way he segues into this masterpiece from the Valses nobles et sentimentales, as if the later piece were somehow the apotheosis of the earlier one. La Valse is Ravel’s wistful valedictory to the lost era of the Viennese waltz and Nézet-Séguin insinuates catastrophe into its climax. A charming, witty, instrumentally fastidious account of the Mother Goose suite completes the programme. I’ve not heard a more gorgeously played orchestral disc all year.'
Hugh Canning, The Times, 29 November 2009
CD: Ravel - Daphnis et Chloë, La Valse, etc. / Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (EMI)

**** 'This interpretation of Bruckner’s immense Symphony No. 8 has a plenitude of beautiful particulars. But the real accomplishment here has to do with duration--the way conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin maintains psychological urgency across long time spans. Gestures taper at leisure; phrases breathe, without losing energy. We don’t pass through the landscape of this symphony, we inhabit it. Indeed the adagio, at almost 30 minutes, is considerably longer than most performances of the movement, yet we would never say it is too slow.'
Elissa Poole, The Globe and Mail, 23 November 2009
CD: Bruckner Symphony no.8 / Orchestre Metropolitain du Grand Montreal (Atma)