Experiencing the intensity of opera

Clarissa Hard L6 writes: On Friday 7 June a group of pupils and teachers experienced Poulenc’s fairly angst-ridden but thought-provoking opera Les Carmélites (1956) in the sweeping location of the baronial Grange Park, where opera-goers enjoy a summer picnic in between the drama.

Emotional respite was certainly needed in the intense opera; Les Carmélites sheds light not only on the liberated ideology driving the French Revolution forwards, but also the massacre of innocent individuals such as the Carmélite nuns in the wake of reformation. National strife and personal turmoil are put into counterpoint, testing the strength of religion in the face of death; despite its tragic ending in death via guillotine, the opera explores a more uplifting notion of spiritual enlightenment through belief.

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