The composer's second opera, Poulenc.
The composer's second opera, Poulenc wrote the libretto after the work of the same name by Georges Bernanos.
Les Dialogues des Carmelites is one of the brightest Poulenc’s works, in which the composer reaches the highest tragic power. The expressive melodious women parts, rich musical substance of the composition made it desirable for stages of many opera theatres. Les Dialogues des Carmelites were staged in Paris, London, San-Francisco. Part of Blanche, the main heroine, has coloured the repertoire of world’s most famous soprano: Denise Duval, Kiri Te Kanawa, Carol Vaness.
Poulenc's masterpiece has already stood the test of 35 years; if it continues to be interpreted as lovingly as here, it may well become a repertory piece in the future. Les) Dialogues des Carmélites. Francis Poulenc Composer. Kent Nagano Conductor. Lyon Opera Orchestra. Jean-Luc Viala (ten) Chevalier de La Force. Catherine Dubosc (sop) Blanche de La Force.
Poulenc's opera Les Dialogues des Carmelites live from The Metropolitan Opera in New York with Isabel Leonard . Tonight's Live from the Met is Poulenc's tragic opera in which the hopes and fears of a group of nuns is set against the backdrop of the French Revolution
Poulenc's opera Les Dialogues des Carmelites live from The Metropolitan Opera in New York with Isabel Leonard, Patricia Racette, Felicity Palmer, Elizabeth Bishop and Erin Morley. Tonight's Live from the Met is Poulenc's tragic opera in which the hopes and fears of a group of nuns is set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. In one of the most haunting of opera endings, the nuns sing the Salve Regina as they're led to the guillotine, each voice cutting out in turn as the blade falls.
Poulenc’s only large serious opera, Dialogues des Carmélites (1957; Dialogues of the Carmelites, libretto by Georges Bernanos), employs his unique musical style to tell a moving and tragic story of nuns martyred during the French Revolution.
Les dialogues des carmélites. For the first time in HD. A long time had to pass between the real event-the death of Carmelite nuns from the Compiègne convent during the French Revolution (1789)-and the 1957 world premiere of Les dialogues des carmélites at La Scala. The nuns’ fate was first described in a novel by Gertrud von Le Fort. Then, their story was brought to the theatre stage by Georges Bernanos. The play caught the attention of Francis Poulenc, who composed an intimate score, hardly reducing the original text.
Poulenc - Les Dialogues des Carmelites
Live from the Met
Tonight's Live from the Met is Poulenc's tragic opera in which the hopes and fears of a group of nuns is set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. In one of the most haunting of opera endings, the nuns sing the Salve Regina as they're led to the guillotine, each voice cutting out in turn as the blade falls. A stellar cast includes Patricia Racette as Madame Lidoine and Felicity Palmer as Madame de Croissy.
Presented by Margaret Juntwait and Ira Siff.
Marquis de la Force ..... David Pittsinger (baritone),
Chevalier de la Force .... .Paul Appleby (tenor),
Blanche de la Force ..... Isabel Leonard (soprano),
Thierry ..... Keith Jameson (baritone),
Madame de Croissy ..... Felicity Palmer (contralto),
Sister Constance of St Denis ..... Erin Morley (soprano),
Mother Marie of the Incarnation ..... Elizabeth Bishop (mezzo-soprano),
M. Javelinot ..... Paul Corona (baritone),
Madame Lidoine ..... Patricia Racette (soprano),
Mother Jeanne of the Holy Child Jesus ..... Jane Shaulis (contralto),
Sister Mathilde ..... MaryAnn McCormick (mezzo-soprano),
Chaplain of the monastery ..... Mark Schowalter (tenor),
First Commissioner ..... Scott Scully (tenor),
Second Commissioner ..... Richard Bernstein (baritone),
Jailer ..... Patrick Carfizzi (baritone),
Chorus and Orchestra of The Metroplitan Opera, New York
Louis Langree, conductor
Producer Ellie Mant
Broadcast: 4 May 2013
With a selection of images from the production
Synopsis (from Wikipedia)
Against the setting of the French Revolution, when crowds stop carriages in the street and aristocrats are attacked, the pathologically timid Blanche de la Force decides to retreat from the world and enter a Carmelite monastery. The Mother Superior informs her that the Carmelite Order is not a refuge; it is the duty of the nuns to guard the Order, not the other way around. In the convent, the jolly Sister Constance tells Blanche (to her consternation) that she has had a dream that the two of them will die young together. The prioress, who is dying, commits Blanche to the care of Mother Marie. The Mother Superior passes away in great agony, shouting in her delirium that despite her long years of service to God, He has abandoned her. Blanche and Mother Marie, who witness her death, are shaken.
Sister Constance remarks to Blanche that the prioress' death seemed unworthy of her, and speculates that she had been given the wrong death, as one might be given the wrong coat in a cloakroom. She said that perhaps someone else will find death surprisingly easy. Perhaps we die not for ourselves alone, but for each other.
Blanche's brother, the Chevalier de la Force, arrives to announce that their father thinks Blanche should withdraw from the monastery, since she is not safe there (being both an aristocrat and the member of a religious community, at a time of anti-aristocrat and anti-clericalism in the rising revolutionary tides). Blanche refuses, saying that she has found happiness in the Carmelite Order. Later she admits to Mother Marie that it is fear (or the fear of fear itself, as the Chevalier expresses it) that keeps her from leaving.
The chaplain announces that he has been forbidden to preach (presumably for being a non-juror under the Civil Constitution of the Clergy). The nuns remark on how fear rules the country, and no one has the courage to stand up for the priests. Sister Constance asks, "Are there no men left to come to the aid of the country?" "When priests are lacking, martyrs are superabundant," replies the new Mother Superior. Mother Marie says that the Carmelites can save France by giving their lives, but the Mother Superior corrects her: it is not permitted to choose to become a martyr; God decides who will be martyred.
A police officer arrives and announces to the community that the Legislative Assembly has nationalized the monastery and its property, and the nuns must give up their religious habits. When Mother Marie acquiesces, the officer taunts her for being eager to dress like everyone else. She replies that the nuns will continue to serve, no matter how they are dressed. "The people have no need of servants," proclaims the officer haughtily. "No, but they have a great need for martyrs," responds Mother Marie. "In times like these, death is nothing," he says. "Life is nothing," she answers, "when it is so debased."
In the absence of a new prioress, Mother Marie proposes that the nuns take a vow of martyrdom. However, all must agree, or Mother Marie will not insist. A secret vote is held; there is one dissenting voice. Sister Constance declares that she was the dissenter, and that she has changed her mind, so the vow can proceed. Blanche runs away from the monastery, and Mother Marie goes to look for her, finding her in her father's library. Her father has been guillotined, and Blanche has been forced to serve her former servants.
The nuns are all arrested and condemned to death, but Mother Marie is away at the time of the arrest. Upon receiving the news, the chaplain tells Mother Marie, when they meet again, that since God has chosen to spare her, she cannot voluntarily become a martyr by joining the others in prison.
At the place of execution, the nuns (one by one) slowly mount the scaffold, singing the "Salve Regina" ("Hail, Holy Queen"). At the last minute, Blanche appears, to Constance's joy, and joins the condemned community. Having seen all the other nuns executed, as she mounts the scaffold, Blanche sings the final stanza of the "Veni Creator Spiritus," "Deo Patri sit gloria...", the Catholic hymn traditionally used when taking vows in a religious community and offering one's life to God.
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