Dialogue Des Carmelites

Anyone else seen Poulenc’s masterpiece and want to discuss? I just watched it over the weekend.

I know that Sister Blanche was the heroine, but I thought that Sister Constance stole the show, especially with the incredible performance that the actress gave in the version I watched. I love the scenes that he wrote for the two novices, especially the scene when they’re doing laundry and when they’re gathering flowers. The dialogue back and forth was great, and Sr. Constance had some great lines (my attempt to remember the translated versions):

“Do you think chance is really just the logic of God?”
“When I was younger life was so much fun and I thought death would probably be fun too.”

I love the scene where they’re in prison and they’re condemned to death. And then that final scene where they’re all heading to the guillotine and singing that latin prayer (it was late at night when I finished it, and I can’t remember which prayer it was off the top of my head).

Did you see it performed or watch it on video?

I haven’t seen/heard it, and in fact just heard of it YESTERDAY. I was reading about Georges Bernanos and wrote the libretto. Any recommendations re: recodings (audio or video)?

Thanks!

This opera is one of my favorites. The final scene with the arrhythmic BAM! ----- BAM! ----------------------------------------- BAM! ----------- BAM! as the strains of the *Salve Regina *become thinner and thinner as each Sister mounts the scaffold tears my HEART out!

I saw it performed by Lyric Opera of Chicago last season. The end scene with the sisters singing the Salve (though I didn’t care for the particular staging much) really got to me as it reminded me of what was happening with Quigley Seminary being cut down at that very time.

The real story of the Martyrs of Compiegne is even MORE compelling than either the play or the opera.

Sweet, others have heard of it :). I was afraid this thread was destined for just me and the crickets :slight_smile:

I watched it on DVD (this one from netflix). I highly recommend this one. The woman who plays Sr. Constance did an incredible job of conveying the youth and innocence of the character. Her performance was really what pushed it over the top for me.

I saw it performed by Lyric Opera of Chicago last season.

I would love to see it live some time. I live only about 3 hours from Chicago, so I’ll have to do a search to see if the Lyric Opera of Chicago (mentioned above) is performing it again.

This opera is one of my favorites. The final scene with the arrhythmic BAM! ----- BAM! ----------------------------------------- BAM! ----------- BAM! as the strains of the Salve Regina become thinner and thinner as each Sister mounts the scaffold tears my HEART out!

I feel the same way. There’s something incredibly inspiring about martyrs standing before their accusers and executioners and defiantly embracing their faith and fate with full vigor. The scene reminded me of some of the stories that I heard of the executions that took place during the French Revolution, where people would be lead off to be executed and would pray the rosary as they were walking.

The real story of the Martyrs of Compiegne is even MORE compelling than either the play or the opera.

Can you point me to any books that you recommend that further detail their story? As my kids grow older and I continue to teach them about the saints, these are stories I want to emphasize.

Our (Catholic) faith is so beautiful. I’m continually amazed at all of the amazing art/literature/music that has been produced to the glory of God.

I have played that scence to so many people. It is so incredible. I love how Blanche chages the hymm to “Deo patri sit gloria” (All praise be thine, O risen Lord) when she is walking up. It gives me chills.

I watched it on DVD (this one from netflix). I highly recommend this one. The woman who plays Sr. Constance did an incredible job of conveying the youth and innocence of the character. Her performance was really what pushed it over the top for me.

I just added it to my list! Thanks for pointing that out. I have only listend to it, I have never seen it.

Whoa were you there?

Thanks a lot Von, I’m going to add that to my netflix. Very interested.

This was their premiere of the work. It probably won’t be produced again for at least another 6-8 years. Maybe (even much) longer. But considering that it was a new production, perhaps it will see life somewhere (even if not in Chicago) sooner rather than later.

Tearing my hair out here looking for a recent (last 6 years or so) book on the subject. Can’t remember the author or title (that happens a lot lately). There IS a book out called The Mantle of Elijah.

quick google search reveals:

The Mantle of Elijah: The Martyrs of Compiegne As Prophets of the Modern Age by Terrye Newkirk
ICS Publications, 1995
Out Of Print

Used at Amazon
Used at Abebooks
Pamphlet at ICS (READ THIS!)

I have played that scence to so many people. It is so incredible. I love how Blanche chages the hymm to “Deo patri sit gloria” (All praise be thine, O risen Lord) when she is walking up. It gives me chills.

This is why I’m desperately trying to learn Latin (and Latin Prayers) as quickly as possible, I missed that completely.

This was their premiere of the work. It probably won’t be produced again for at least another 6-8 years. Maybe (even much) longer. But considering that it was a new production, perhaps it will see life somewhere (even if not in Chicago) sooner rather than later.

I’ve bookmarked the web sites for the opera houses (if that’s the correct term) I found in chicago. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled. The wait kind of stinks (I feel a day late and a dollar short :)), but it will give me a chance to get to know it better before I go see it. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to follow along without any on-screen translation.

Thanks to all for the book tips and especially for the online article. I can’t wait for some free time this weekend to read through the article.

Finally watched this. Thanks for the recommendation VonRatz! I have to say that I wasn’t too into the music… seemed a bit tuneless to me, except for when they were singing traditional songs. Some parts were really beautiful. This might be more to do with my newness to opera music… other than this I’ve only heard a few Verdi and Mozart operas.

Sometime soon I’m going to check out the other version of this available on netflix.

Bernanos’ original script is available in English in The Heroic Face of Innocence: Three Stories by Georges Bernanos. It must have been pretty heavily modified to turn it into a libretto. I’m interested in reading the original. Too bad that book is oop and pretty expensive.

A couple lines really struck me. In particular: “We are not an enterprise for mortification or the preservation of the virtues, we are houses of prayer; whoever does not believe in prayer cannot but take us for impostors or parasites.”

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