The Metropolitan Opera: Poulenc’s “Dialogues des Carmélites” (iTunes Concert Film)
Ever since John Dexter’s striking production marked the company premiere of Dialogues des Carmélites in 1977, Poulenc’s devastating masterpiece has been a favorite of Met audiences. To close out the 2018–19 season, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a starry revival of the opera, which was also included as part of the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard is the fearful Blanche de la Force, who joins a convent of Carmelite nuns in order to escape the terrors of the French Revolution. The exceptional cast also features sopranos Erin Morley and Adrianne Pieczonka and mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as some of Blanche’s fellow sisters, with tenor David Portillo as the protective Chevalier de la Force. Maestro Nézet-Séguin leads a gripping performance throughout—from the opera’s chaotic first bars to the chilling death scene of Madame de Croissy (sung by the incomparable Karita Mattila) to the work’s harrowing final moments.