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10.11.04

Dawn Upshaw in Carmélites

The production of Francis Poulenc's opera Dialogues des Carmélites at the Opéra National de Paris (Bastille) right now was designed in 1999 by Francesca Zambello (who created the Billy Budd most recently shown here at the Washington National Opera). An excerpt from Marie-Aude Roux's article (Dawn Upshaw, le libre chant d'une soprano, November 3) on American soprano Dawn Upshaw, singing the role of Blanche, for Le Monde:

Twelve years ago, she landed here, in a backpack and rain poncho. The unforgettable Angel of Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise, staged by Peter Sellars at the Opéra Bastille, the kiss of a saving voice, good as consolation, miraculous healing spring for all the world's lepers. Then there was Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, this time a more terrestrial angel, Anne Truelove, one of her signature roles, the face of love itself whose luminous unraveling she brought to Lyon, Boston, Salzburg, Paris. And then the overwhelming and triumphant Theodora by Handel, in 1996, at the Glyndebourne Festival, directed by William Christie.

"I cannot say how much Peter Sellars changed my life. He is one of the most musical and humanely generous people I have ever met, a medium able to use you, your life, what you know, and what you don't know, so well that working with him was like a revelation for me." A revelation for us was her glowing Mélisande in Debussy's Pelléas, at the Palais Garnier, at once so present on the stage and so extraordinarily otherworldly, so fragile, so dense in the suspended vision of Bob Wilson, that it was almost frightening.
I've only found one review so far, by Philippe Herlin (Des Dialogues de caractère, November 3) for ConcertoNet.com.

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