• Langue Fr
  • Langue En
  • Langue Es

Naïve maison d'artistes

Stéphane Degout

Stéphane Degout

vocal recital, Classical - Baryton

Stéphane Degout, Hélène Lucas et Ruben Lifschitz

by Clément Hervieu-Léger
                              'On entendrait dormir l’eau…'
                              Maurice Maeterlinck,
Pelléas et Mélisande
Stéphane Degout first met Hélène Lucas when he entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon in 1995. The repetiteur soon detected the young singer’s qualities and introduced him to the mélodie and lieder repertoire. It was at this point that he also met Ruben Lifschitz, at masterclasses which the latter was giving at the CNSM.

The poems of Verlaine set to music by Debussy were among the first works they explored together. From the Lyon Conservatoire to Royaumont Abbey, Stéphane Degout gave his first recitals, accompanied on the piano by Hélène Lucas. However, in 1999, after his acclaimed debut as Papageno at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, the international operatic world opened its doors to him and kept him away from the lied and the mélodie for a while. But he missed the repertoire, and one January day he wrote to Hélène Lucas and Ruben Lifschitz to tell them of his wish to start giving recitals again. The trio was re-formed. Their shared endeavour began once more. In February 2004 they were invited to Lincoln Center in New York for the first time. Then came the Berlin Philharmonie, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Today Stéphane Degout continues to insist on the importance of the recital in his life as a singer. He describes it as getting back to basics, at once an artistic and a technical necessity.
Going from one operatic production to another, the singer is constantly faced with new conductors, new directors, new partners. He or she can sometimes feel a little lost. The song repertoire is the calm after the storm. Here there are no effects or artifices; only the text and the music remain. Only the interpreter and the absolute truth of his or her voice. But anyone who has studied poetry closely knows just how dangerous it can be to venture alone on this introspective path. So it is easy to imagine the importance for Stéphane Degout of the companionship which has bound him to Hélène Lucas and Ruben Lifschitz for more than fifteen years now. Time and practice have enabled them to achieve a relationship of genuine intimacy.
The kind of intimacy that allows them to breathe together. Guided by Ruben Lifschitz, Stéphane Degout and Hélène Lucas have listened to Debussy, Duparc, Ravel. But, perhaps even more important, they have read Verlaine, Baudelaire, Renard. For Ruben Lifschitz was a
pupil of Alfred Cortot, and he likes to quote his teacher: ‘Leave the music alone!’ In his view, one must serve the work above all else. And the first step in that process is to restore the text to its central position. Next, one must examine the accompaniment, taking account of the myriad details that go to make it up, like the casket which sheds a special light on the jewel of the poem. When this is done, the music makes it possible to hear what is not written.
Stéphane Degout says he counts Ruben Lifschitz among the great directors he has met, on a par with Patrice Chéreau, Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann, Robert Wilson or Klaus Michael Grüber. For it was thanks to Lifschitz that he realised that the recital is not a pure vocal exercise but above all an inner journey, an essential journey. Here one must not impersonate a character; one must be. And there lies scope for the dizzying feeling of abandoning oneself, of experiencing one’s own interiority. At his side is Hélène Lucas to accompany him. She is with him like those confidants in tragedy whose mere presence allows the word to reveal itself. And one thinks of the words the great French actor Louis Jouvet addressed to himself in Écoute mon ami, reminding us that ‘the key to practising this profession properly lies in self-renunciation to achieve self-advancement’.


see the complete biography


Stéphane Degout - Stéphane Degout

vocal recital - 10/25/2010 - 1 CD - Durée 74' - ref V5209

listen to the album buy from the naïvestore
  1. 1.  Debussy - La Mer est plus belle...
  2. 2.  Debussy - Le Son du cor...
  3. 3.  Debussy - L'échelonnement des haies
  4. 4.  Duparc - Le Galop
  5. 5.  Duparc - Lamento
  6. 6.  Duparc - Elégie
  7. 7.  Duparc - La Vie antérieure
  8. 8.  Saint-Saëns - Au cimetière
  9. 9.  Saint-Saëns - Tournoiement, songe d'opium
  10. 10.  Chabrier - L'Île heureuse
  11. 11.  Chabrier - Chanson pour Jeanne
  12. 12.  Chabrier - Les Cigales
    • 13.  Hahn - Trois jours de vendanges
    • 14.  Hahn - Cimetière de campagne
    • 15.  Ravel - Le Paon
    • 16.  Ravel - Le Grillon
    • 17.  Ravel - Le Cygne
    • 18.  Ravel - Le Martin-Pêcheur
    • 19.  Ravel - La Pintade
    • 20.  Debussy - Ballade de Villon à s'amye
    • 21.  Debussy - Ballade que Villon feit à la requeste de sa mère pour prier Nostre-Dame
    • 22.  Debussy - Ballade des femmes de Paris
  13. see the 22 tracks

Mélodies Claude Debussy (1862-1918) La Mer est plus belle que les cathédrales Le Son du cor s’afflige vers les bois L ’Échelonnement des...

Mélodies Claude Debussy (1862-1918) La Mer est plus belle que les cathédrales Le Son du cor s’afflige vers les bois L ’Échelonnement des haies Henri Duparc (1848-1933) Le Galop - Lamento - Élégie - La Vie antérieure Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) ‘Au cimetière’ (Mélodies persanes) ‘Tournoiement, songe d’opium’ (Mélodies persanes) Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) L ’Île heureuse Chanson pour Jeanne Les Cigales Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947) Trois jours de vendanges Cimetière de campagne Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Histoires Naturelles : ‘Le Paon’ – ‘Le Grillon’ – ‘Le Cygne’ – ‘Le Martin-Pêcheur’ – ‘La Pintade’ Claude Debussy Trois ballades de François Villon 'Ballade of Villon to His Mistress' 'Ballade Written at His Mother’s Request as a Prayer to Our Lady' 'Ballade of the Women of Paris' Stéphane Degout baritone Hélène Lucas piano "The very great names of the French mélodie – Fauré, Debussy, Ravel – often make one forget that they were not alone. Of course we must also reckon with Duparc and the all too few songs that escaped his tragic destiny. Yet Gounod, Bizet, Chabrier or Saint-Saëns, whose memory has been kept alive in other domains, appear less often in the singer’s repertoire. Their contribution to the mélodie, sometimes quantitatively important, is doubtless more uneven, but the wood can sometimes hide fine individual trees. Such is the case, first of all, with Saint-Saëns, a composer so prolific that he has often been accused of academism or facility – and he could indeed be guilty of both – without proper justice being done to the best of his music. Fauré spoke of his conveying ‘sentiments which may perhaps be described as average’, while allowing that he had chalked up some fine successes. Among his many songs (the most famous of which remains Le Pas d’armes du roi Jean), the cycle of Mélodies persanes is a splendid example of subtle orientalism, with the calm, delicately unstable harmonies in Au cimetière and the brilliant piano writing and dizzying declamation of Tournoiement. The less numerous mélodies of Chabrier (somewhat eclipsed by the brio of España and the Bourrée fantasque) introduce a Wagnerism à la française which only Duparc could bring off so well, with highly elaborate piano parts and extremely sensual vocalism, sometimes just this side of a certain indulgence, a fault which intelligent interpreters can easily avoid. When this is done, L’Île heureuse and Chanson pour Jeanne are quite the equal of the Pièces pittoresques for piano. But the droll side of Chabrier eludes any hint of triviality to paint a bold, cheerful tableau in Les Cigales. The third of the somewhat neglected mélodistes to whom this programme makes just reparation is Reynaldo Hahn. He is too frequently viewed as a lightweight charmer, as in his much-loved Si mes vers avaient des ailes. Trois jours de vendanges seems initially a little too compliant with the folklorism of Alphonse Daudet’s text, before veering in the direction of melancholy when the piano discreetly quotes the Dies iræ and concludes with a moving postlude. Cimetière de campagne may at first seem less original and burdened by a rather poor text by Gabriel Vicaire, but the countermelody in the piano bass and the flexible declamation salvage a mélodie which the great Charles Panzéra did not think unworthy of his attention." --Excerpt from the inside notes by Rémy Stricker
read more

artist's photo gallery