The Bronx Opera in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Lehman College, May 6-14



Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites

performed in English

Saturday May 6 at 7:30 pm; Sunday May 7 at 2:30 pm

Saturday May 13 at 7:30 pm; Sunday May 14 at 2:30 pm

Lehman College/Lovinger Theatre, 250 Bedford Pk. Blvd. West

Tickets: $40; $30

Reservations:         718.365.4209                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The Bronx Opera returns with four performances of Poulenc’s moving Dialogues of the Carmelites, music and libretto by Francis Poulenc, performed in English, May 6 & 7 and May 13 & 14 at the Lovinger Theatre, Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West in the Bronx.  Principal roles in the two casts will be taken by Barbee Monk and Alina Tamborini as Blanche de la Force; Hannah Spierman and Michelle Trovato as Madame Lidoine; Annie Chester and Caroline Tye as Mother Marie of the Incarnation; and Tiernan Elizabeth Chase and Sarah Daniels as Sister Constance.Dialogues of the Carmelites begins in the spring of 1789, on the eve of the French Revolution. At its heart, the opera tells the story of Blanche de la Force, a young noblewoman torn apart by fear. She leaves her father and brother for the perceived safety of the convent, becoming a Carmelite nun. As the story progresses and time passes, Blanche relates to her sister nuns, and witnesses the traumatic death of the Priory’s Mother Superior. The Reign of Terror in 1794 forces the nuns to choose between their vows and conformity — unwilling to renounce their religious life, they ultimately choose martyrdom, a choice which drives Blanche to flee the convent in confusion and terror. In the final scene, despite her profound fear of death, Blanche returns to join the other nuns as they march to the guillotine.
The world premiere of Dialogues of the Carmelites took place, performed in French, January 26, 1957 at La Scala.  The U.S. premiere followed, by the San Francisco Opera in September 1957.  Poulenc’s desire was to see Carmelites performed in the vernacular of its local audience. Honoring that desire, BxO will (as is their custom) present this towering masterpiece in English.

Bronx Opera Company was founded in 1967 by its artistic director and music director, the conductor Michael Spierman, and is run by Maestro Spierman in partnership with his son Benjamin Spierman, the company’s General Director.  The Company is a member of the New York Opera Alliance.

Bronx Opera Company presents two full productions each year.  Its repertoire ranges from the very rarely performed to opera’s “top ten.”   All productions are sung in English with full orchestra and chorus.  Additionally, the Company presents concerts of opera excerpts throughout the year in the Bronx, Manhattan, and surrounding areas, and partners with local community schools and organizations to spread the word about the current production, create performances, and educate people in all areas of the performing arts.

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