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Dialogues of the Carmelites (photo by Eric Mahoudeau/Paris Opera)

Washington National Opera: Dialogues of the Carmelites

Faith is put to the ultimate test in Poulenc's powerful opera about an order of Carmelite nuns who refuse to renounce their beliefs during the French Revolution. WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello directs this company premiere, sung in English.

  • Feb. 21 - Mar. 10, 2015
  • Opera House
  • TBA
  • $25.00 - $300.00

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Tickets go on sale November 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM to the public.
November 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM to Kennedy Center Members
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About

FRANCIS POULENC
Dialogues of the Carmelites (1957)

(Dialogues des carmélites)                            
Libretto by the composer, after a play by Georges Bernanos
Company premiere
WNO production, originally produced by Opéra National de Paris
 
"Wonderful psychological complexity… a hymn to the powers of sisterhood and the strength of female solidarity"--The Toronto Star
 
Faith is put to the ultimate test in Poulenc's powerful 1957 opera about an order of Carmelite nuns who refuse to renounce their beliefs in the wake of the French Revolution. With social unrest rippling through Paris, a timid young woman leaves her aristocratic family to seek refuge at a convent in northern France. She strives to align with her fellow sisters, who soon discover they must either abandon their monastery or face certain execution. Their act of defiance in the face of fear becomes a gripping, emotional story of loyalty, redemption, and sacrifice.
 
At turns hymnal and haunting, Dialogues of the Carmelites soars with exquisite harmonies, a sublime a cappella "Ave Maria," and wrenching twists, including a chilling final tableau. Performing an English translation approved by the composer, the stellar cast includes three fast-rising sopranos: the WNO debuts of Leah Crocetto as steadfast leader Madame Lidoine and Layla Claire as impressionable new nun Blanche de la Force, plus Ashley Emerson (Papagena in WNO's The Magic Flute) as optimistic Sister Constance.
 
Star mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick (Adalgisa in WNO's Norma) makes her role debut as Madame de Croissy, the ailing prioress of the monastery, while mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop (Brangäne in WNO's Tristan and Isolde) portrays martyrdom-driven Mother Marie, a role she has performed to great acclaim. Directed by Francesca Zambello, the production also features the return of renowned maestro Patrick Summers, who has not conducted at WNO since 1997.
 
Madame Lidoine: Leah Crocetto*
Blanche de la Force: Layla Claire*
Madame de Croissy: Dolora Zajick 
Mother Marie: Elizabeth Bishop
Sister Constance: Ashley Emerson
Marquis de la Force: Alan Held
Chevalier de la Force: Shawn Mathey
The Chaplain: Robert Baker
 
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Director: Francesca Zambello
Set Designer: Hildegard Bechtler*
Costume Designer: Claudie Gastine
Lighting Designer: Mark McCullough
 
*WNO debut

Sung in the composer's approved English translation by Joseph Machlis with projected English titles. Titles may not be visible from the rear of the orchestra.

Performance Timing: TBA

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COME EARLY FOR FREE OPERA INSIGHTS
Musicologist Saul
Lilienstein leads the Thursday, March 5 Opera Insight, starting 1 hour and 15 minutes before the performance and lasting 35–40 minutes. All other Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes. Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera.
These lectures are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of Dialogues of the Carmelites.

STAY AFTER FOR A FREE ARTIST Q&A
Following these performances:

Monday evening, February 23
Sunday matinee, March 8
Join WNO artists for a unique opportunity to ask questions about the production.
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.

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All events and artists subject to change without prior notice.

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