Poulenc’s Carmelites from the Met

THE next live satellite broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera is Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites, on Saturday 11th May at 5pm.

The opera had its premiere at La Scala in Milan in 1957 to universal acclaim and was followed quickly by performances in Paris and San Francisco.

As the French Revolution begins, shy Blanche, (sung by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard,) becomes a novice nun under an elderly prioress—Met legend Karita Mattila.

Blanche’s aristocratic family flees the Terror, but she remains behind, struggling between her fear of the guillotine and her duty to the convent. When the nuns are expelled from the convent and threatened with death, Blanche must make an agonising decision.  In the shattering final scene, the nuns walk towards the guillotine singing Salve Regina: their voices are cut off, one by one, with each stroke of the blade, until all are silenced.

Poulenc’s devastating portrayal of faith and martyrdom is being broadcast live in HD for the first time.

Among the venues transmitting the opera are Bridport Arts Centre,
Christchurch Regent Centre, Poole Lighthouse (where there is an encore screening at 1pm on Friday 17th May), Salisbury Arts Centre and Strode Theatre in Street, which has arranged an encore on Wednesday 15th May at 6.30pm.

Contact the venues or visit their websites for more information.