Dialogues of the Carmelites

This Fall

Dialogues of the Carmelites

By Francis Poulenc

Overview

Dates

October 15–30, 2022

Composer

Francis Poulenc

Price

Starting at $26

Run Time

3 hours, 6 minutes including one intermission

Language

Sung in French with English supertitles

Libretto

Emmet Lavery

To live in fear—or die in faith.

Outside, scaffolds rise in city squares as priests, nobles, and political prisoners face the merciless blade of the guillotine. The aristocrat Blanche de la Force had hoped the convent would serve as a sanctuary. But now, death is at the sisters' doorstep. And one by one, their faith will be tested.

Francis Poulenc’s profound drama returns to San Francisco in honor of the Company’s U.S. premiere of the work in 1957. Olivier Py’s award-winning staging pairs striking tableaus with Poulenc’s haunting, poetic score conducted by Music Director Eun Sun Kim.

See a Performance

Why See It

A true story from France’s Reign of Terror comes to life in Poulenc’s most powerful opera, a testament to the power of the human spirit—and the faith we can find in each other.

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The Buzz

"[Ben] Bliss’ sweet tenor — fluid, bright, full of subtly shifting tone colors — seemed to have an element of heartbreak built in from the beginning."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"[Michelle] Bradley’s voluminous voice maintains impressive flexibility and surprising lightness in a wide range of repertory, from its rich, warm, vibrant middle and lower registers to its bright, full, thrilling top."
-Opera News

"[Heidi] Stober stops the show each time with her dramatic interpretation and golden pipes."
-Houston Press

Synopsis

A fearful young noblewoman seeks sanctuary in a convent on the eve of the French Revolution—only to discover herself facing a much greater crisis of faith, as death comes for the nuns.

 

 

Read Complete Synopsis

Creative Team

Production

Olivier Py*

Production Designer

Pierre-André Weitz*

Lighting Designer

Bertrand Killy*

* San Francisco Opera Debut

PERFORMANCES
October 15, 18, 21, 26, 30, 2022

Previous performances of Dialogues of the Carmelites can be found in our Archive.
Co-production of Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Bruxelles

Hear The Music


Audio excerpts are from the 1982 cast of Dialogues of the Carmelites (sung in English), with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Henry Lewis.

Prelude to Act I, Scene 2/San Francisco Opera Orchestra; Sister Constance’s Aria/Betsy Norden; “Ave Maria”/San Francisco Opera Women’s Chorus; Blanche’s Scene with Her Brother/Carol Vaness/Howard Hensel; The New Prioress Gives Her Blessing/Leontyne Price; Final Scene/San Francisco Opera Women’s Chorus.

Made Possible By

This production is made possible, in part, by Louise Gund; Bernard and Barbro Osher, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem.