Oberes Belvedere

Dialogues des Carmélites

Wiener Staatsoper
© WienTourismus / Christian Stemper
Wiener Staatsoper

Premiere: May 21, 2022

Opera in three acts and 12 pictures
Text based on the drama by Georges Bernanos, adapted with the permission of Emmet Lavery
Based on a story by Gertrude von Le Fort

Musical direction: Bertrand de Billy
Production: Magdalena Fuchsberger

Of the three operas created by Francis Poulenc, his only full-length opera is based on a historical event from the time of the "Grande Terreur" in France: on 12 July 1794, 16 nuns belonging to the Carmel of Compiègne were executed in Paris. They had continued to practise their faith communally after the abolition of all religious communities by the National Assembly, and the charge of the Revolutionary Tribunal was accordingly counter-revolutionary practices. In the most famous scene of his work - the last - Poulenc set this very execution to music, following not only the literary models for his libretto but also tradition: the nuns ascend the scaffold, singing the Salve Regina. With the sound of the axe, one voice is cut off at a time, until at the end only one singer can be heard. When this voice is also interrupted by the sharp sound of the guillotine and shortly afterwards another soprano voice intones the Veni creator spiritus, the strong interweaving of historicising and fictional elements comes to a climax, which made the such a gripping theatrical material and helped to secure the work an important place in the opera history of the 20th century.

Current Dates

  • Sun. 28 Jan 2024
  • Wed. 31 Jan 2024
  • Sun. 04 Feb 2024