Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

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Chalkperson
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Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by Chalkperson » Wed May 01, 2013 5:44 pm

For me, two of the greatest Operas of all are Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy and Dialogue des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc, I listen to them both frequently. Today I was very lucky to be invited to the Metropolitan Opera to see the Dress Rehearsal of Dialogue des Carmélites, Conducted by Louis Langrée and with Blanche sung by Isabel Leonard and Mademoiselle Lidoine sung by Isabel Leonard.

The production was a revival of the 1987 staging and it was, quite simply, one of the greatest and most moving performances I have ever seen. I only have a modern staging on BluRay, and whilst that is very enjoyable, the Met version was far better. I had seats right in the center of the Orchestra and looked directly at the stage which was shaped like a cross that floated up into the back wall, it was minimal and simple, yet it conveyed everything needed about this historically based Opera. The ending, where all fourteen nuns walk, one by one, to the guillotine was one of the most moving things I have ever witnessed.

I'm sure John F can describe this Met production and it's history way better than me, but I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed it, I really hope Len has tickets to see it...

Here is the finale...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcUXp-fpiD0
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piston
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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by piston » Wed May 01, 2013 6:10 pm

For me, two of the greatest Operas of all are Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy and Dialogue des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc, I listen to them both frequently.
Hear, hear!
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by jbuck919 » Wed May 01, 2013 6:13 pm

Today I was very lucky to be invited to the Metropolitan Opera to see the Dress Rehearsal of Dialogue des Carmélites, Conducted by Louis Langrée and with Blanche sung by Isabel Leonard and Mademoiselle Lidoine sung by Isabel Leonard.
That's some trick. :)

Darn that Poulenc. He could get around so many problems of 20th century music just by writing so much stuff everyone loves.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jserraglio
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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 01, 2013 6:31 pm

I've seen Dialogues three times, all student productions, and it blew me away each time. Poulenc alludes to Debussy and Stravinsky but never imitates them. I love this masterpiece. My favorite opera of the 20th century.

John F
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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by John F » Wed May 01, 2013 6:38 pm

The Met revives this production every 8-10 years, as well it should. I'll be going to one of the performances - not sure which one.

Metropolitan Opera House
May 4, 2013 Matinee Broadcast

DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES
Poulenc-Bernanos

Blanche de la Force.....Isabel Leonard
Madame de Croissy.......Felicity Palmer
Madame Lidoine..........Patricia Racette
Mother Marie............Elizabeth Bishop
Sister Constance........Erin Morley
Mother Jeanne...........Jane Shaulis
Sister Mathilde.........Mary Ann McCormick
Marquis de la Force.....David Pittsinger
Chevalier de la Force...Paul Appleby
Chaplain................Mark Schowalter
Thierry.................Eduardi Valdes
Javelinot...............Paul Corona
First Commissioner......Scott Scully
Second Commissioner.....Richard Bernstein
Jailer..................Patrick Carfizzi
Nuns....................Christina Thomson Anderson, Stephanie Chigas, Catherine Choi, Mary Hughes, Sunghe Lee, Kathleen Mangiameli, Rosemary Nencheck, Ann Nonnemacher, Amanda Osario, Belinda Oswald, Sara Stewart


Conductor...............Louis Langrée
Production..............John Dexter
Stage Director..........David Kneuss
Set Designer............David Reppa
Costume Designer........Jane Greenwood
Lighting Designer.......Gil Wechsler

This isn't the strongest cast the Met has offered, but I'm sure it's fine.
John Francis

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 01, 2013 7:00 pm

John F wrote:The Met revives this production every 8-10 years, as well it should.
Yes, I've heard the 2003 Met Dialogues [Racette-Palmer-Conlon] and liked it a lot. I still prefer pulling out the Angel LP set with Duval and Dervaux, though this opera, more than most, needs to be heard and seen in the theater.

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by Chalkperson » Wed May 01, 2013 9:13 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Today I was very lucky to be invited to the Metropolitan Opera to see the Dress Rehearsal of Dialogue des Carmélites, Conducted by Louis Langrée and with Blanche sung by Isabel Leonard and Mademoiselle Lidoine sung by Isabel Leonard.
That's some trick. :)
I have been invited a number of times, usually work got in the way, then once it was Pelleas conducted by Rattle, so even though I love the Opera I refused. Today was a perfect opportunity and I met the kind lady who organizes the press tickets and got invited back next season for The Nose... :D :D :D
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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by Steinway » Wed May 01, 2013 10:16 pm

I am always mesmerized by this opera and have tickets for next Thursday night.

Thanks, Chalkie, for the heads up.

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by jbuck919 » Wed May 01, 2013 10:19 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
Today I was very lucky to be invited to the Metropolitan Opera to see the Dress Rehearsal of Dialogue des Carmélites, Conducted by Louis Langrée and with Blanche sung by Isabel Leonard and Mademoiselle Lidoine sung by Isabel Leonard.
That's some trick. :)
I have been invited a number of times, usually work got in the way, then once it was Pelleas conducted by Rattle, so even though I love the Opera I refused. Today was a perfect opportunity and I met the kind lady who organizes the press tickets and got invited back next season for The Nose... :D :D :D
I was kidding you because you (accidentally I'm sure) had the same soprano singing two roles. However, it is unusual for you to go to a live anything, so I did truly appreciate the enthusiasm of your post.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by lennygoran » Thu May 02, 2013 6:23 am

Chalkperson wrote: I really hope Len has tickets to see it...

Here is the finale...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcUXp-fpiD0
Well so does Len--only 3 performances of it May 4, May 9 and 12. We'll be in the city today for Vixen but I don't know if we'll buy the tickets--that finale always gets to me! Regards, Len

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by Beckmesser » Thu May 02, 2013 9:06 am

I'll be seeing it on Thursday night.

The Met's production is very moving. I saw it the last time it was in the repertory. As I prepared to leave after the performance ended I noticed that the young monk seated behind me (he was wearing a simple habit with a rope for a belt) had tears streaming down his cheeks.

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 02, 2013 3:41 pm

Beckmesser wrote:I'll be seeing it on Thursday night.

The Met's production is very moving. I saw it the last time it was in the repertory. As I prepared to leave after the performance ended I noticed that the young monk seated behind me (he was wearing a simple habit with a rope for a belt) had tears streaming down his cheeks.
Must have been a Franciscan--or a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. :wink:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by josé echenique » Thu May 02, 2013 5:04 pm

I saw it 20 years ago at the MET with Jessye Norman and a stunning, unforgettable performance by Regine Crespin of the old Prioress. A glorious Oscar-worthy performance, one of the greatest things I´ve seen in my life.

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by Chalkperson » Thu May 02, 2013 8:08 pm

josé echenique wrote:I saw it 20 years ago at the MET with Jessye Norman and a stunning, unforgettable performance by Regine Crespin of the old Prioress. A glorious Oscar-worthy performance, one of the greatest things I´ve seen in my life.
I'm sure she was incredible, the Prioress death is very moving, Crespin was chosen by Poulenc to sing the role of the second Prioress, Mme Lidoine at the premiere in 1957, he predicted that she would one day play the old Prioress too, which she did in English at the Met...
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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by John F » Thu May 02, 2013 10:28 pm

Another memorable revival was in 1994 with Dawn Upshaw as Blanche, Helga Dernesch as the old prioress, Teresa Stratas as Mme. Lidoine, and Kent Nagano conducting.

This is probably the best production by John Dexter, then the Met's Director of Productions. Another good one was Weill's "Mahagonny." Dexter was a proper S.O.B. - a posthumous quasi-autobiography was titled "The Honourable Beast - and Astrid Varnay, for one, let it be known at the Met that she didn't want to work with him again. But he knew his craft, and achieved outstanding results on the very tight production budgets the Met had to impose at the time. It's 35 years since this production premiered and Dexter didn't rehearse it after 1987, but it still packs quite a punch.
John Francis

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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by stenka razin » Fri May 03, 2013 8:24 pm

Chalkie, I think Isabel Leonard has a fabulous voice and will be a big star very soon. What did you think of her performance, m8? 8)

Regards,
Mel 8)
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Re: Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met

Post by Chalkperson » Fri May 03, 2013 9:18 pm

stenka razin wrote:Chalkie, I think Isabel Leonard has a fabulous voice and will be a big star very soon. What did you think of her performance, m8? 8)

Regards,
Mel 8)
It was very good, as was the entire cast...
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