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Pocket Opera at Notre Dame Presents Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites

Belmont, CA, April 20, 2009 — Pocket Opera at Notre Dame will present Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, an opera very much at the heart of the history of the University, on April 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and April 26 at 2 p.m.. This production will be uniquely staged in Cunningham Memorial Chapel on the University campus as a theatre-in-the-round, creating a very intimate stage.

Pocket Opera at Notre Dame, is a training program of Notre Dame de Namur University and Pocket Opera San Francisco. Poulenc’s opera, written in 1957, recounts the events of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, specifically the martyrdom of 16 Carmelite nuns, charged with crimes against the government. Ten days after they were guillotined, the Reign of Terror ended, fulfilling the sisters’ hope that their deaths would bring some peace to France. Poulenc’s stunning music captures the wide array of emotions surrounding these events.

Ste. Julie Billiart, the founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, lived with these same Carmelites as a girl. To better understand the story of these nuns, the cast visited the Carmelite sisters in Carmel. The performances are dedicated to these sisters.

“It is quite daunting to perform this opera,” said Debra Lambert, Chair of the Department of Music and Vocal Arts, who will sing as the Old Prioress in the opera. “These women sacrificed their lives for their love of Jesus and to bring peace to their country. The opera is both terrifying and inspiring.”

Louise Costigan-Kerns will conduct the Pocket Philharmonic. Production staff also includes stage direction by Greg Fritsch, lighting design by Matthew M. Royce, and costume design by Kate Irving Mills. The cast consists of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, and guest artists: Lee Strawn, Nicholas Patton, Kelly Jean Hammond, Daniel G. Norberg, Debra Lambert, Alexis Flores, Megan Conroy, Laurie Nellesen, Bailey Batti, Kay Kleinerman, Alina Fontanilla, Sophia Mabelitini, Shannon Kilpatrick, Brienne Jones, Sarah Espinoza-Smither, Claire Karoly, Tatiana Bookbinder, Katie Lipka, Samantha Bruce, Jennifer Kim, Gabrielle Au, Michael D. Reed, Kristopher Hauck, and Eric Morris.

Tickets cost $20, $10 students and seniors. For more information, contact NDNU’s Department of Music and Vocal Arts Box Office at (650) 508-3729 or concerts@ndnu.edu.