Great Performances at the Met: Dialogues Des Carmélites

Air date: 09/01/2019

Great Performances at the Met: Dialogues des Carmélites

Premieres nationwide Sunday, September 1 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)


Season 13 of Great Performances at the Met comes to a close Sunday, September 1 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Poulenc’s classic Dialogues des Carmélites. Metropolitan Opera Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts this devastating story of faith and martyrdom starring Isabel Leonard in the touching role of Blanche de la Force alongside Adrianne Pieczonka as Madame Lidoine, Erin Morley as Sister Constance, Karen Cargill as Mother Marie and Karita Mattila, returning to the Met as Madame de Croissy, the prioress of the monastery.

John Dexter’s production is set in Paris, April 1789, as the first signs of the French Revolution begin to shake the country. After being held up by a mob, the fearful and nervous Blanche returns home to explain the incident to her father, the Marquis de la Force, and brother Chevalier de la Force, declaring that she has made up her mind to become a nun. Weeks later, Blanche is interviewed by the ailing prioress Madame de Croissy, who makes it clear to Blanche that the Carmelite convent is a house of prayer, not a refuge from the impending war. Later, Blanche befriends Sister Constance, who shocks Blanche by telling her that she knows they will both die young.

Following the agonizing death of Madame de Croissy, Madame Lidoine is appointed the new prioress of the convent. While she is addressing the convent, Blanche’s brother Chevalier arrives, urging Blanche to return home to their father who is about to flee the country. She rejects her brother’s advice, stating that her duty is to her sisters. Following a final mass, an angry crowd approaches the convent and commissioners inform the sisters that they have been expelled. In the devastated chapel, the sisters decide by a unanimous vote to take a vow of martyrdom, causing a fearful Blanche to run away. As the revolution rages on, Blanche must choose between living a life in constant fear of the revolution or joining her sisters in their vow. Renée Fleming hosts.

Short Listing:

Watch Poulenc’s classic starring Isabel Leonard and Karita Mattila. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

Long Listing:

Watch John Dexter’s production of the Poulenc classic about the power of faith, starring Isabel Leonard as Blanche and Karita Mattila as the Prioress. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

Notable Talent:

  • Isabel Leonard – Blanche de la Force
  • Karita Mattila – Madame de Croissy
  • Adrianne Pieczonka – Madame Lidoine
  • Karen Cargill – Mother Marie
  • Erin Morley – Sister Constance
  • David Portillo – Chevalier de la Force
  • Jean-François Lapointe – Marquis de la Force
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin – conductor
  • Renée Fleming – host

Run time: 3 hours

Production Credits:

  • John Dexter – Production
  • David Reppa – Set Designer
  • Jane Greenwood – Costume Designer
  • Gil Wechsler – Lighting Designer

For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. David Frost is Music Producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.


Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and public television viewers.

Series Overview:

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, bringing the best of the Metropolitan Opera into the homes of classical music fans across the United States.

Websites:,, @GPerfPBS, #GreatPerformancesPBS


About WNET
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.

About The Met

Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, The Metropolitan Opera is one of America’s leading performing arts organizations and a vibrant home for the world’s most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers. The company presents more than 200 performances each season of a wide variety of operas, ranging from early masterpieces to contemporary works. In recent years, the Met has launched many initiatives designed to make opera more accessible, most prominently the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions, which dramatically expands the Met audience by allowing select performances to be seen in more than 2,200 theaters in more than 70 countries around the world.

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Karen Cargill as Mère Marie in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera

Adrianne Pieczonka as Mme. Lidoine in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera

Jean-François Lapointe as the Marquis de la Force and David Portillo as the Chevalier de la Force in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera

Paul Corona as Javelinot, Karita Mattila as Mme. de Croissy, and Karen Cargill as Mère Marie in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera

Karita Mattila as Mme. de Croissy and Isabel Leonard as Blanche de la Force in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera

Isabel Leonard as Blanche de la Force in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera

The opening scene of Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera

Erin Morley as Constance in Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites." Credit: Ken Howard / Met Opera