10/01/2016 - Dialogues des Carmélites

Posted by Kimberly Powell on 09/26/2016


Dialogues des Carmélites 


The composer's second opera, Poulenc wrote the libretto after the work of the same name by novelist Georges Bernanos. The opera tells a fictionalised version of the story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, Carmelite nuns who, in 1794 during the closing days of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, were guillotined in Paris for refusing to renounce their vocation. Dialogues des Carmélites essentially had three world premieres in 1957: first at La Scala (sung in Italian), then Paris (sung in French), followed by  San Francisco. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the premiere, SFO assembled a star-studded cast with veterans of all three 1957 productions in 1982.  Henry Lewis conducts this week's special archive performance from San Francisco Opera and features Leontyne Price (Madame Lidoine),  Virginia Zeani (Mother Marie), Betsy Norden (Sister Constance), Regine Crespin  (Madame de Croissy), Carol Vaness (Blanche), Howard Hensel (Chevalier de la  Force), and Eric Halfvarson (Marquis de la Force.)

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