[Met Performance] CID:263060

Dialogues des Carmélites
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, December 18, 1980

Debut : William Fleck

Dialogues des Carmélites (19)
Francis Poulenc | Georges Bernanos
Blanche de la Force
Maria Ewing

Madame de Croissy
Régine Crespin

Madame Lidoine
Leona Mitchell

Mother Marie
Mignon Dunn [Act I]

Mother Marie
Gwynn Cornell [Act II]

Sister Constance
Betsy Norden

Mother Jeanne
Jean Kraft

Sister Mathilde
Batyah Godfrey Ben-David

Marquis de la Force
Jerome Hines

Chevalier de la Force
Raymond Gibbs

Michael Best

Nico Castel

Gene Boucher

First Commissioner
Charles Anthony

Second Commissioner
Russell Christopher

William Fleck [Debut]

Barbara Bystrom

Suzanne Der Derian

Mary Fercana

Ann Florio

Lorraine Keane

Elyssa Lindner

Linda Mays

Teresa Robinson

Ann Sessions

Janet Wagner

Constance Webber

Julius Rudel

John Dexter

Set Designer
David Reppa

Costume Designer
Jane Greenwood

Lighting Designer
Gil Wechsler

Dialogues des Carmélites received seven performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Byron Belt in The Newark Star-Ledger

Met Triumphs with return of 'Dialogues"

NEW YORK - With the return of Francis Poulenc's powerful "Dialogues of the Carmelites" great opera and magnificent performance have joined for the first time in this sadly truncated Metropolitan Opera season.

Julius Rudel is the new and inspired conductor and the John Dexter direction and David Reppa designs are as awesome and right as ever. James Levine decided that "Dialogues" would be done first in English and later in French. The current revival is stylishly correct in French but done against the express wishes of the composer who felt strongly that his intimate drama required that it be performed in the language of the audience.

Having made what I personally feel is the wrong decision that is almost the only complaint possible concerning the grandeur of the work and its memorable realization by the Met.

Rudel's luminous conducting was reflected in tighter ensemble and splendid orchestra playing in which only the French horns had an off night at the premiere. Elsewhere, the strengths remain about as they have been in previous seasons.

The tragic drama of the martyrdom of the Carmelite convent at Compiagne during the reign of terror following the French Revolution is reflected in several individual roles of deepest emotional insight and in the ensemble of the nuns as they slowly march one by one to the guillotine.

In the particularly agonizing role of the old Prioress, Regine Crespin was truly glorious. Her death matches anything in theater and the great artist is as moving an actress as she is singer. As the youngest and most vulnerable of the Carmelites, Blanche gives Maria Ewing a role of wide dimension and she offers a splendid performance only a touch lacking in vocal radiance.

Betsy Norden's joyous, trusting Sister Constance is exactly right in contrast to the generally somber atmosphere. In the unpleasant role of Mother Marie, Mignon Dunn sang unevenly in the first act and was sufficiently indisposed to be replaced by Gwenn Cornell in the last half. The latter sang the role better than it has been

in the past and should soon be as effective dramatically.

Leona Mitchell's new Prioress was sung with great vocal beauty and her touching ministrations to her doomed order brought warmth to the chill of the final tragic scene.

Jerome Hines began a record-breaking 35th Met season as the dignified Marquis de la Force and was wonderful, as always. Raymond Gibbs was reported to be not well but sang Blanche's brother splendidly.

The chorus was outstanding and the individual nuns were both dramatically and vocally the finest ensemble yet.


"Dialogues of the Carmelites" is one of the Met's finest achievements and should be seen by all who truly care about great music theater.

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