More French opera

Since I mentioned Messiaen’s extraordinary Saint François, another deeply serious French opera about religious devotion that I’ve only just registered (and am keen to see live) is Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites (1956), with its chilling final scene (from 2.20.02) where the nuns climb in turn to the guillotine while chanting the Salve regina.

Just in case we forget, China didn’t invent religious persecution… Unlike Messiaen, whose work seems oblivious of the secular world, Poulenc’s work inevitably evokes the more recent agonies of France, and Europe.

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