The production will feature Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Barbara Dever along with the Cathedral Choir and Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John J. Miller and under the stage direction of Will Bryan. The performance has been made possible in part by a grant from The Valparaiso Project, an organization that develops resources to help others live their faith with vitality and integrity in changing times.
Tickets are available at $40, $30, and $20 for adults and $10 for children; group rates are also available for parties of 10 or more. Call (973) 484-2400 or go online (www.cathedralbasilica.org ) for ticket information. The Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located at 89 Ridge Street.
The three-act opera ("Dialogues of the Carmelites") written by Francis Poulenc will feature singers from the Cathedral Music Ministry accompanied by the Cathedral Symphony Orchestra, in co-production with the New York Opera Society. Dever will perform the lead role of the Old Prioress in the production.
Dever made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1994 as Amneris in "Aida." During her career she has appeared with opera luminaries such as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Zubin Mehta, Nello Santi and James Levine. Her other roles at the Met include Azucena in "Il Trovatore," Eboli in "Don Carlo" and Fricka in "Die Walküre."
"Dialogues" is being performed to mark the deaths of three saints who served in the Carmelite order: Saint Mary Magdalene DePazzi, who died 400 years ago; Saint Raphael Kalinowski, who died 100 years ago; and most recently, Edith Stein, who died 65 years ago. The opera, which debuted in 1957 at the world-famous La Scala Opera House in Milan, tells a true story of martyrdom and redemption.
During the final days of the French Revolution, the Committee of Public Safety was created to preserve the reforms of the revolution. Their aim was to eliminate all counter-revolutionary elements, including individuals whose primary devotion was to their faith. This resulted in the "Reign of Terror," a dark period in French history characterized by a wave of executions.
Sixteen nuns from the Monastery of the Incarnation in Compiègne were arrested on June 24, 1794, and thrown into prison for failing to obey orders to stop practicing their faith. While singing hymns, the courageous nuns were guillotined in Paris on July 17, 1794. They were beatified by Pope Pius X in 1906.