Poulenc's Les Carmélites | Grange Park Opera
Based on events that took place during the French Revolution and a screenplay by Georges Bernanos.
Blanche, a young noblewoman wants to become a Carmelite nun. The Old Prioress suspects that her vocation is misguided but eventually accepts her as a novice.
French revolutionists are demanding the dissolution of religious houses. Monks and nuns who fail to renounce their faith will be sent to the scaffold. The Old Prioress falls fatally ill and dies, and the nuns agree that they will choose collective martyrdom rather than betray their faith.
Blanche's friend, the novice Constance, rebels against her sisters. She would rather give up her faith than die. Blanche must make the decision whether or not to join the march to the guillotine.
In the final scene, Poulenc's juxtaposition of lush harmonies, the chanting of the nuns and the horrific sound of the guillotine's descending blade makes for one of the most moving scenes in opera.
Sung in French with surtitles
- Les Dialogues des Carmélites
- Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)