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Dialogues des Carmélites

on May 21, 2023
This is the page for the performance on May 21, 2023.
If you would like to attend a performance of this production, you will find further dates below.
Music Francis Poulenc
Oper in drei Akten und 12 Bildern
Text nach dem Drama von Georges Bernanos
Bearbeitet mit der Genehmigung von Emmet Lavery
Nach einer Erzählung von Gertrud von Le Fort
und einem Drehbuch von Pfarrer Bruckberger und Philippe Agostini


Future dates

28. January 2024
19.00 - 22.00
1 intermission
Buy tickets Werkeinführung 30 Minuten vor der Vorstellung im Gustav Mahler-Saal
31. January 2024
19.00 - 22.00
1 intermission
Buy tickets Werkeinführung 30 Minuten vor der Vorstellung im Gustav Mahler-Saal
04. February 2024
18.00 - 21.00
1 intermission
Buy tickets

Cast 21.05.2023

Conductor Bertrand de Billy
Production Magdalena Fuchsberger
Stage Design Monika Biegler
Costume Design Valentin Köhler
Video Aron Kitzig
Lighting Design Rudolf Fischer
Blanche Nicole Car
Le Chevalier Bernard Richter
Madame de Croissy Michaela Schuster
Madame Lidoine Maria Motolygina
Mère Marie Eve-Maud Hubeaux
Le Marquis de la Force Michael Kraus
Soeur Constance Maria Nazarova
Mutter Jeanne Monika Bohinec
Schwester Mathilde Alma Neuhaus
Beichtvater des Karmel Thomas Ebenstein
1. Kommissar Andrea Giovannini
2. Kommissar Jusung Gabriel Park
Offizier Jack Lee
Kerkermeister Clemens Unterreiner


»Blanche, c'est moi«, Francis Poulenc wrote about the main character of his only full-length opera. »Blanche, that's me«. The composer borrows here the bon mot of another great French artist - »Madame Bovary, c'est moi« Gustave Flaubert is said to have said about his novel character. And like the quotation, Poulenc makes his own the story of Blanche de La Force, who enters the Carmelite convent of Compiègne near Paris at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. The story of the 16 nuns of Compiègne, who were executed in Paris in 1794, forms the historically verified framework for a fictional plot in which the composer and librettist Poulenc takes on the ultimate human theme: The fear of death.  

Francis Poulenc traces his characters in a captivatingly clear score which, like almost all his compositions, moves within the tonal framework, more precisely that of a diatonic neoclassicism. Poulenc, whose great passion was song composition, is also a composer of voices and language here: the music serves the singing, the singing forms the characters, which Poulenc shapes with individual rhythmic diction and melody and lets them enter into the dialogue that gives the work its title. The work's liveliness is also due to the distinctive work with recurring motifs that characterise the characters, but above all set atmospheric accents of an uncanny richness of facets. Magdalena Fuchsberger's production takes up this diversity, leading the Carmelite nuns in haunting images through the »flats of the Inner Castle« all the way to the scaffold.  


In April 1789, while the Reveillon riots in Paris herald the beginning of the French Revolution, the young Blanche de la Force announces a lasting decision to her father, the Marquis: she wants to enter the Order of the Carmelite Sisters of Compiègne. There, the young woman, who has been plagued by inexplicable fears since childhood, hopes for relief and clarity. At the convent, Blanche, who chooses the religious title Sœur Blanche de l'Agonie du Christ (Sister Blanche of Christ's Agony), witnesses the death throes of the dying prioress Madame de Croissy at close quarters and is troubled by the young novice Sœur Constanze de St.-Denis with the vision that they would both die young and on the same day. The new prioress, the bourgeois Madame Lidoine, swears the Carmelite nuns to prayer in times of incipient terreur and warns them against vain longings for martyrdom. When Madame Lidoine is summoned to Paris, the novice mistress Mère Marie de l'Incarnation arranges a vote committing the sisters to martyrdom. Blanche is no longer able to cope with the pressure and her fear and takes refuge in the house of her father, who has since been executed, where she lives as a maid to the new owners. After the orders are banned, the Carmelite nuns are initially declared citizens, but are then sentenced to death for counter-revolutionary conspiracy. The prioress is the first to go to the scaffold, while Mère Marie, who was not in the convent at the time of the arrest, escapes the intended martyrdom. As the nuns go to the scaffold singing the Salve Regina, Blanche appears in the crowd. She joins in the chant and is the last to enter the scaffold.