Poulenc: Dialogue Des Carmelites

Album cover art for upc 807280149494
Label: ARTHAUS
Catalog: 101494
Format: BLU RAY

Live Recording from The Staatsoper Hamburg, 2008

Alexia Voulgaridou (Blanche de la Force), Wolfgang Schöne (Marquis de la Force), Nikolai Schukoff (Le chevalier de la Force), Kathryn Harries (Madame de Croissy), Anne Schwanewilms (Madame Lidoine), Gabriele Schnaut (Mère Marie de l‘Incarnation) Staatsoper Hamburg, Simone Young (conductor) & Nikolaus Lehnhoff (director)

The opera Dialogues of the Carmelites is the only opera the French composer Francis Poulenc has ever written. It is based on the screenplay Die begnadigte Angst by Georges Bernanos. The material for the opera is based on actual historic events. Poulenc converges religion and revolution: The young Blanche de la Force who suffers from existential fear all life long, escapes into a convent hoping to conquer her paralysing fear of life and death. Even the walls of the convent cannot stop the French Revolution. The nuns of the Carmelite Order fail to resist it and accept to die in martyrdom. Fascinated by their constancy finally Blanche overcomes her angst and follows her sisters to the scaffold. This dramatic opera in three acts had its debut performance at La Scala in Milan in 1957. With its religious theme this opera takes a special position in the theatre of music in the 20th century. Poulenc's clear and insistent musical language is perfectly interpreted by conductor Simone Young and the Philharmoniker Hamburg. This production showcases big, vibrant voices from all age categories who are not only brilliant in singing but also in acting. Besides the great musical performance, the main reason for the huge success of the opera is stage director Nikolaus Lehnhoff. His simplistic stage design together with the mystic light installation this opera guarantees great listening and also an amazing viewing pleasure. “…the sheer power of Lehnhoff’s final scene simply takes your breath away.” Hamburger Abendblatt “It is remarkable how Lehnhoff succeeds in narrating the events of a two-and-a-half hour drama that is low on action without losing power or intensity.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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