Opera in three acts by Francis Poulenc Text by the composer after Georges Bernanos. Arrangement for chamber orchestra by Takeshi Moriuchi In French with German and English surtitles
The Marquise de la Force, heavily pregnant, is caught in her carriage in a violent popular uprising. The shock causes her to give birth prematurely, and she dies in childbirth. Her daughter Blanche has been beset by mysterious anxiety since early childhood. Were the circumstances of her birth the trigger? In the convent of the Carmelite nuns, Blanche, now a young adult, seeks refuge and believes she has finally found a way of life. At the convent, she witnesses how the faith-filled but terminally ill prioress is overwhelmed by fears in her hour of death. Shortly thereafter, the nuns are suspected by Revolutionary Guards of conspiring against the new regime. All convents are to be dissolved. In a final meeting, the Carmelite nuns take a vow to remain faithful to their faith until death. Blanche is the only one to escape, shortly before the arrest. But at the hour of execution, she is suddenly back to share the fate of her sisters: In the face of the guillotine, she seems to have lost all fear.
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