As amazing an opera production that you could ask for
I appreciate Poulenc's music, though admittedly it took some time to. Dialogues Des Carmelites is my favourite work of his for reasons too numerous to list. The basic gist is that it is a superbly crafted and moving work. I found this Met production to be amazing, one of their best productions from the 80s and one of stage director's John Dexter's finest hours. It is also my favourite production of Dialogues Des Carmelites, the fact it was in English didn't hinder it in the slightest, the Anne-Sophie Schmidt and Opera Australia productions are also great albeit not as gripping or moving as this one. The costumes and sets are traditional and the colour schemes are those that people will find fittingly atmospheric(I fall into this camp) or drab. The staging is theatrical and never detracts from the tone of each scene, I can't think of a performance of any final scene in quite a while that had a profound and gripping effect as much as this one. The orchestral playing is both beautiful and powerful, with special mention going to the percussion, characterising the guillotine they had a chillingly thrilling effect. The conducting never rushes or drags, and the chorus singing is dynamic and reacts well to the drama. The three leads are superb. Apart from the occasional screechy top note, Maria Ewing is utterly riveting as Blanche, on the most part she sings really beautifully and gives some of her best ever acting. Jessye Norman's part of Madame Lidione is a fairly large one, and she gives it her characteristic vocal richness and a commanding presence. Regine Crespin, Jean Kraft and David Kuebler are also excellent. Stealing the show I think is Florence Quiver, in perhaps the best performance I've seen from her, I'd be hard pressed to find an address as jaw-droppingly intense as the one Quiver delivered with her large richly produced voice and her ever communicative, dignified acting. In conclusion, amazing in every regard. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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