Opera sheds light on true tale of heroic nun martyrs

AN exciting new opera company debuts this month with one of the world’s greatest, tragic romantic works – the spectacular Dialogues des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc and starring Auburn singer Naomi von Senff.

It’s based on the true story of Carmelite nuns who, in 1794 during the Reign of Terror in the final days of the savage French Revolution, were guillotined in Paris for refusing to renounce their vocation.
Gente, gente! (‘People, people!’ in Spanish) is a not-for-profit opera company focusing on less commonly performed works which make a powerful impact.
The story of these martyrs has inspired works of art, plays, poetry, music … and this 1957 opera which is hauntingly beautiful and with its themes of courage under fire, dying for your beliefs and women facing down violence, makes it both timely and timeless.
Naomi plays one of the nuns who is executed after taking a vow of martyrdom.
She says the cast is great to work with and fleshing out the characters and bringing them to life is sure to make the deaths heartbreaking.
“The audience will enjoy the beautiful music and moving story, and hopefully get an appreciation of the depths of the real nuns’ sacrifice,” she said.
“The opera is in French but English subtitles make following the story a breeze.
“It will be the perfect night out for history buffs and music lovers as well as people who have never been to an opera before.”
Director Bec Moret says the nuns’ fearless walk to the scaffold, is said to have turned the jeers of a cynical, blood-lusting crowd to utter silence.
“Only 10 days later, revolution leader Robespierre was himself sent to the guillotine, ending the infamous Reign of Terror.”
Gente gente! presents Dialogues des Carmélites at Pitt Street Uniting Church on June 21, 22, 28, and 29 from 7pm.
Tickets $15-25 at: