Parlando: The COC Blog


Introduction to Dialogues des Carmélites

Dialogues des Carmélites

What's it all about?

In 1794, sixteen members of the members of the Carmel of Compiègne (also known as the Martyrs of Compiègne) were felled by the guillotine as the Reign of Terror swept through post-revolutionary France. The women refused to put away their habits and paid with their lives, but despite their death sentence, their faith prevailed. The women were remembered for renewing their vows and singing as they approached the scaffold.

137 years later, Gertrud von Le Fort released a novella titled Die Letzte am Schafott ("The Last on the Scaffold") and two decades later, Francis Poulenc's opera about the doomed order debuted. The book and subsequently the opera was based on a surviving nun's recollection of the events, told through the perspective of a fictional heroine which she based on herself. The character? The timid and uncertain noblewoman, Blanche de la Force. 

Not the strongest of characters at the outset, Blanche is a meek woman who is terrified by the uprising of the French revolutionaries. After one particularly frightening swarming by a local mob, she announces to her family that she wants to become a nun in order to escape the harsh world outside. But with the Reign of Terror spreading across the French countryside, the struggles Blanche will eventually face in the abbey come to test her strength, character and faith in ways that the outside world never could. When the executioners come to call, on which side of the scaffold will she fall? 


Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (1) / permalink


Inside Opera: Dialogues des Carmélites

The Canadian Opera Company's popular Inside Opera video series is back, this time with a look at our final production of the spring season, Dialogues des Carmélites

In our latest Inside Opera video, meet three talented Canadian artists starring in Robert Carsen's production of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. Sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian, Adrianne Pieczonka and mezzo-soprano Judith Forst discuss the power and strength found in the music of Poulenc's masterpiece, and discuss how the unique staging elements heighten the anxiety and fear in their performances.

Catch up with the last Inside Opera video,  Salome, Playing with Shadows and explore our production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor with: Creating Lucia Part One,Creating Lucia Part Two and William Zeitler and the Glass Armonica.



Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (0) / permalink


May and June Free Concert Series Highlights

The Free Concert Series may be wrapping up its 2012/2013 season in the first week of June, but these final weeks are packed with fantastic performances! Read our May and June highlights below to begin the countdown to summer with a selection of concerts that feature extraordinary vocal artistry, instrumental showcases, edgy new talent, and a unique cross-cultural collaboration.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 12 p.m. - Mauro Bertoli - Romantic Rhapsodies

Award-winning Italian-born pianist Mauro Bertoli presents an alluring program featuring music by Romantic composers, including works by Brahms, Schumann, Granados and Liszt. Preview one of the pieces you will hear in the video below.


Posted by Kristin McKinnon / in Free Concert Series / comments (0) / permalink

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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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