College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

CofC Opera to Perform ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites,’ a Story of Martyrdom

The College of Charleston Opera will present a production of Francis Poulenc’s only full-length opera, “Dialogues of the Carmelites.” It tells a fictional account of the actual events of the Martyrs of Compiègne — the Carmelite nuns who in 1794 refused to renounce their faith during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. As a result, they were guillotined in Paris.

The performances will take place at 7:00 p.m., with pre-show talk at 6:15 p.m., on Friday, March 1 and Sunday, March 3, at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for College of Charleston students and 18 and under, available online or at the door (cash and check only).

Premiering in 1957 at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, “Dialogues of the Carmelites” was one of the most successful operas of the later decades of the 20th century. Directed by the new Head of Opera at the College, Saundra DeAthos-Meers, and assisted by Amanda Castellone, College of Charleston Opera will perform the music in English. DeAthos-Meers shares, “This opera is exceedingly beautiful and dramatic and was chosen specifically with our students in mind. When choosing repertoire, I keep in mind what the opera will both challenge the students and serve their development. “Dialogues of the Carmelites” is a poignant story about the brave women who were sent to the guillotine for their beliefs. I am proud of these students and how they have accepted and conquered the challenge of this dramatic piece.”  

“We chose to do this opera in English even though it was originally composed in French. It was important to me to adhere to the composer’s desire that the work be performed in the vernacular of the audience.”

This cast will feature College of Charleston students, a reduced orchestra that is comprised of both professionals and College of Charleston students, with faculty member Rob Taylor at the helm.

Watch an interview clip with Director DeAthos-Meers on Lowcountry Live.

The College of Charleston Opera is a program in the Department of Music in the College’s School of the Arts.