Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dialogues des Carmelites

Ethereal spirituality set against the background of the horrifying excesses of the French Revolution provides a basis for great opera. In 1957 Francis Poulenc's opera, Dialogue des Carmelites, premiered with a libretto by the composer. Featuring tonal music, with a seriousness I am unfamiliar with in his music, this opera is among the best that I have seen in some time. The characterization is rich and the tension builds as the Nuns gradually move toward their eventual fate of martyrdom. The production by Lyric Opera, which I attended last night, left me wanting a bit more spectacle from the rather sparse set, but its' simplicity allowed me to contemplate the uniqueness of the music.


Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on to this post(long story), but I too saw Dialogues last week- It was my first trip to the Opera, honestly, and I was afraid that it would be overwraught or overproduced (which is, admittedly, my stereotype of what Opera is).. Needless to say I was very pleasantly surprised, absolutely adored the lack of "spectacle" in the sense that I think you mean it, and felt that the spectacle happened on a more human, inventive, powerful level (i.e. the mass of people moving across the stage, revealing slight changes or more dramatic shifts) which is very much in concert with what happened musically- and, as you very appropriately pointed out- the music was very much a main character in the evening's experience. Very glad that I saw it, I think it's a sublime production!

James said...

Thanks for the comment - I'm glad you enjoyed your first Opera. This one was truly "sublime" as you said.