Poulenc: Dialogues Des Carmelites / Dervaux, Duval

Release Date: 11/30/2009
Catalog Number: WAR 67135
Composer: Francis Poulenc
Conductor: Pierre Dervaux
Number of Discs: 2

Physical Format:

Notes and Editorial Reviews
Few operas from the second half of the 20th century have entered the standard repertoire, but Poulenc's 'Dialogues des Carmélites' is one that quite deservedly has. The simple yet compelling narrative--a convent of nuns is martyred at the guillotine during the French Revolution--is a framework for discussions (the "dialogues" of the title) about faith, grace, fear and death. This is among the often-lighthearted Poulenc's most earnest works, but all is not grim. The agonizing death of the Mother Superior and the relentless tread to the scaffold in the final scene are balanced by the radiant beauty of the hymn settings and the cheerful enthusiasm of Sister Constance, among other aspects.
This reissue of the opera's landmark first recording (made the year after the work's 1957 premiere) features Denise Duval in the central role of Sister Blanche. A close friend of Poulenc's, Duval was a preferred interpreter of his work; her portrayal of this character's growth and maturation is utterly convincing. Régine Crespin, always especially great in French music, is memorable as Madame Lidoine, and Liliane Berton is a sparkling, energetic Sister Constance. Now and again the recording shows its age, but this is a minor factor here compared with the excellence of the cast and the overall rightness of conductor Pierre Dervaux's interpretation.
Works on This Recording
1. Dialogues des carmélites by Francis Poulenc
Performer: Denise Scharley (Soprano), Max Conti (Baritone), Rita Gorr (Mezzo Soprano), Régine Crespin (Soprano), Jacques Mars (Baritone), Charles Paul (Baritone), Liliane Berton (Soprano), Gisèle Desmoutiers (Soprano), Denise Duval (Soprano), Janine Fourrier (Soprano), René Bianco (Baritone), Michel Forel (Tenor), Xavier Depraz (Bass), Paul Finel (Tenor), Louis Rialland (Tenor), Raphael Romagnoni (Tenor)
Conductor: Pierre Dervaux
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1953-1956 ; France
Customer Reviews