Opera Notre Dame to perform ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites’

Author: Carol C. Bradley

Opera Notre Dame performs in the Decio Mainstage Theatre

The Department of Music’s Opera Notre Dame, after popular productions of “Sweeney Todd,” “Faust” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in April 2013 will present one of the most powerful and challenging operas of the 20th century, “Dialogues of the Carmelites.”

The opera in three acts by Francis Poulenc, based on a play by Georges Bernanos, tells the story of a group of Carmelite nuns guillotined during the French Revolution.

“Although it involves a religious community and the story unfolds in a specific place and time, I believe the opera speaks to us as if were written yesterday,” says Mark Beudert, professional specialist in music and Opera Notre Dame’s director.

Opera Notre Dame performs a scene from "The Marriage of Figaro" in the Decio Mainstage Theatre

The opera, first performed at La Scala in 1957, raises many timely questions, he says. “We want to engage campus in lively discussion. What is the relationship of individuals to the state? What is the role of faith in a rapidly secularizing society?”

The opera is cast with undergraduates, and will be performed entirely in French. There are still some roles in the chorus left to cast for those interested in performing—roles are open by audition to anyone in the campus community.

“It’s one of the most difficult operas we’ve ever performed,” says Beudert, “and the students are going to do a fantastic job.”