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Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Dialogues des Carmélites. It was last on stage 29 May—11 June 2014 as part of the Spring 2013/14 season.

Introduction

Blanche, the timid daughter of an aristocrat, joins the Carmelite order of nuns, against the wishes of her family. In the monastery she meets Constance, a lively peasant girl, who makes a shocking prophecy.

Background

The terror and turbulence of the French Revolution provides the backdrop for Francis Poulenc’s powerful opera of faith, bravery and redemption. Poulenc created the libretto for Dialogues des Carmélites after a play of the same name by writer Georges Bernanos and the opera was given its premiere at La Scala, Milan, in 1957. It arrived at Covent Garden the following year, with a cast that featured Dame Joan Sutherland in the role of the courageous Mother Marie of the Incarnation.

Director Robert Carsen – who staged Falstaff at the Royal Opera House in 2012 – brings his intense and daring production of Dialogues des Carmélites to The Royal Opera for the first time. The starkly beautiful staging combines modern designs and period costumes with stunning lighting effects. It throws into relief Poulenc’s radiant and exhilarating score, which draws on the resources of a large orchestra (including two harps, a piano and even a guillotine). Dialogues des Carmélites culminates in one of opera’s most devastating final scenes, as Blanche embraces death with her fellow nuns to a transcendent setting of the hymn Salve Regina hymn.

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On Wikipedia

Dialogues des carmélites (Dialogues of the Carmelites) is a 1956 French-language opera in twelve scenes and several orchestral interludes, grouped into three acts, by Francis Poulenc. It is the composer's second opera; he wrote the libretto himself after a scheme by Georges Bernanos. Its première took place (in an Italian translation) in January 1957 at La Scala in Milan; French and American premières followed the same year.It tells a somewhat fictionalised version of the story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, Carmelite nuns who were guillotined during the French Revolution after refusing to renounce their vocation.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article Dialogues of the Carmelites, available under a Creative Commons license.