Quickly engaged by major opera houses around the world, she sang Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Madame Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor, the title role in Zaïde, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos.
In 1992, Dessay debuted as Olympia in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, and in 1993, she sang at the opening of the New Lyon Opéra.
Her recital album, Vocalises, won a Diapason d'Or award and a Classique d'Or RTL in 1998.
Despite the need for vocal cord surgery, which put her career on hold from 2002 until 2005, EMI's recording of Lakmé with Michel Plasson conducting and Dessay in the title role won the award for French Recording of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique Classique.
Other releases include Offenbach's Orphée and a Mozart aria disc on Virgin.
She has recorded both the original French and Italian versions of Lucia di Lammermoor.
But she has continued to record, taking on several projects beyond the scope of opera (something she had previously avoided).
Her 2013 release, Entre elle et lui, was a duo project with veteran French film composer and jazz pianist Michel Legrand.
In the same year she joined the roster of the Vienna Staatsoper with a triumphant performance as Blondchen.
She sang there in an acclaimed production of Tales of Hoffmann with Plácido Domingo, and as Sophie in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier opposite Anne Sophie von Otter.