Tuesday, November 22, 2022
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SF Opera’s Dialogues of the Carmelites


Carmelites* Notes * 
Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites (Act II pictured, {photograph} by Cory Weaver) opened at San Francisco Opera final weekend after an absence of forty years on the Struggle Memorial stage. The stark manufacturing from Olivier Py that options lots of flat minimize outs, shadows, and chalk was transferring. The music and singing have been all very sturdy.

Throughout final evening’s efficiency, the enjoying from the orchestra was lush and exquisite. Maestra Eun Solar Kim appeared in full management of the musicians, and I loved watching and listening to all of them. The woodwinds have been notably nice, particularly the English horn participant Alix DiThomas, who had a solo in Act I. I’ve solely heard this opera one time earlier than, and the factor about it that I keep in mind greatest is the guillotine sound impact on the finish, which was achieved right here utilizing a saber field and performed by the percussionist Victor Avdienko backstage.

There are lots of voices on this opera, 24 principals and 38 offstage choristers. They sang nicely collectively, and that final scene was viscerally efficient. The primary singers are sopranos, they usually all have been fairly distinct, which is a feat in casting. Soprano Deanna Breiwick was spectacular as Sister Constance, her twittery however incisive sound was convincing. I favored listening to former Adler soprano Melody Moore as Sister Marie, her voice is creamy however highly effective. Soprano Michaela Schuster has some darkish tones because the previous prioress Madame de Croissy and was fairly terrifying in her loss of life scene. Soprano Michelle Bradley as the brand new prioress Madame Lidoine was likewise sturdy, very heat and poignant when she sings in Act III as she joins her sisters in a vow of martyrdom. Lastly, soprano Heidi Stober appeared to embody Blanche de la Power fairly completely, her textured, tinselly sound channeled the character’s anxiousness which made her transformation on the finish all of the extra placing.

_DSC5637The staging, first seen on the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in 2013 after which at La Monnaie / De Munt in 2017, was directed right here by Daniel Izzo. It has a stripped down high quality to it, numerous gray and white. The play of sunshine and shadow was pleasing. I favored the 4 tableaux the nuns depicted with flat minimize out props: The Annunciation, The Nativity, The Final Supper, and The Crucifixion. The loss of life scene of Madame de Croissy (pictured, {photograph} by Cory Weaver) was depicted on the wall, as if one was trying down into the room, and this was disturbing and really a lot in step with the occasions that unfold.

* Tattling * 
There have been fairly lots of people on the efficiency, which was heartening. The orchestra degree appeared virtually full. I used to be stunned that the 2 different folks in Field X deserted the efficiency at intermission, and was chagrined that the pair in Field Y returned late. For some motive the latter couple discovered the top of Act II hilarious and laughed loudly when poor Blanche drops and breaks Child Jesus. I personally was raised in a really completely different faith than Catholicism, however can nonetheless empathize with this frightened younger nun. However maybe they have been simply nervous for her and the emotion got here out as laughter. They did applaud an awesome deal for the efficiency on the ovation.

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