Premieres Sunday, September 1 at 12:00 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Season 13 of Great Performances at the Met comes to a close Sunday, September 1 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Poulenc’s classic Dialogues des Carmélites. Metropolitan Opera Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts this devastating story of faith and martyrdom starring Isabel Leonard in the touching role of Blanche de la Force alongside Adrianne Pieczonka as Madame Lidoine, Erin Morley as Sister Constance, Karen Cargill as Mother Marie and Karita Mattila, returning to the Met as Madame de Croissy, the prioress of the monastery.
John Dexter’s production is set in Paris, April 1789, as the first signs of the French Revolution begin to shake the country. After being held up by a mob, the fearful and nervous Blanche returns home to explain the incident to her father, the Marquis de la Force, and brother Chevalier de la Force, declaring that she has made up her mind to become a nun. Weeks later, Blanche is interviewed by the ailing prioress Madame de Croissy, who makes it clear to Blanche that the Carmelite convent is a house of prayer, not a refuge from the impending war. Later, Blanche befriends Sister Constance, who shocks Blanche by telling her that she knows they will both die young.
Following the agonizing death of Madame de Croissy, Madame Lidoine is appointed the new prioress of the convent. While she is addressing the convent, Blanche’s brother Chevalier arrives, urging Blanche to return home to their father who is about to flee the country. She rejects her brother’s advice, stating that her duty is to her sisters. Following a final mass, an angry crowd approaches the convent and commissioners inform the sisters that they have been expelled. In the devastated chapel, the sisters decide by a unanimous vote to take a vow of martyrdom, causing a fearful Blanche to run away. As the revolution rages on, Blanche must choose between living a life in constant fear of the revolution or joining her sisters in their vow. Renée Fleming hosts.
Isabel Leonard – Blanche de la Force
Karita Mattila – Madame de Croissy
Adrianne Pieczonka – Madame Lidoine
Karen Cargill – Mother Marie
Erin Morley – Sister Constance
David Portillo – Chevalier de la Force
Jean-François Lapointe – Marquis de la Force
Yannick Nézet-Séguin – conductor
Renée Fleming – host
Run time: 3 hours
John Dexter – Production
David Reppa – Set Designer
Jane Greenwood – Costume Designer
Gil Wechsler – Lighting Designer
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. David Frost is Music Producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and public television viewers.
About The Met Print
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, The Metropolitan Opera is one of America’s leading performing arts organizations and a vibrant home for the world’s most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers. The company presents more than 200 performances each season of a wide variety of operas, ranging from early masterpieces to contemporary works. In recent years, the Met has launched many initiatives designed to make opera more accessible, most prominently the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions, which dramatically expands the Met audience by allowing select performances to be seen in more than 2,200 theaters in more than 70 countries around the world.