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Dialogues des Carmélites
Musical Survey of Dialogues of the Carmelites

Dialogues des Carmélites

Story & Setting:

In addition to composing the music, Poulenc wrote the libretto for this devastatingly beautiful opera about faith and martyrdom. The piece is based on a true story of 16 Carmelite nuns who chose to sacrifice themselves for the advancement of peace during the French Revolution.

Opera Notes:

Premiered in 1957, Poulenc's second opera could not be more different in subject or mood than his earlier farce Les Mamelles de Tirésias. The composer dedicated the piece to predecessors Monteverdi, Debussy, Verdi and Mussorgsky, and even apologized for the "tonal music" contained in this opera. The piece is noted for its great use of text-driven recitativo singing, and use of leitmotif to represent themes such as fear, death, and pride. Rather than a grand finale, he employs a haunting unison chorale of the Salve Regina as the nuns go to meet their fate.

Sung in



3 hours & 10 minutes

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)


"Ave Maria" (Jessye Norman)

Met Opera (Current Production)

"Oh! Ne me quittez pas" (Isabel Leonard & David Portillo)

Met Opera (Current Production)

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