DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES
Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan, 2004
Soloists: Christopher Robertson ( Le Marquis de la Force), Dagmar Schellenberger (Blanche), Gordon Gietz (Le Chevalier), Anja Silja (Madame de Croissy), Gwynne Geyer (Madame Lidoine), Barbara Dever (Mère Marie de l’Incarnation), Laura Aikin (Soeur Constance de Saint-Denis)
Orchestra, Chorus: Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala
Conductor: Riccardo Muti
Choreographer: Robert Carsen
Performance Place: Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan
When Canadian opera director Robert Carsen produced his intense staging of Francis Poulenc’s compelling opera Les Dialogues des Carmélites in 2001, it impressed audiences and critics alike, and also gained the interest of Riccardo Muti, who arranged for the production to be staged at La Scala Milan. Muti himself conducted Orchestra and Chorus of the Scala and a superb, handpicked cast of singers. German soprano Dagmar Schellenberger, who received much critical acclaim for her debut at La Scala, takes the role of the young aristocrat Blanche who, during the French Revolution, seeks salvation in a convent. Following a decree dissolving all the country’s religious houses, the Carmelite nuns take a vow of martyrdom and sing their way to the scaffold. The last to die is Blanche, together with Soeur Constance, sung by the American soprano Laura Aikin. The production was particularly notable for the participation of Anja Silja, one of the greatest singers of our times, as Madame de Croissy.