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Review: ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites,’ Under Will Crutchfield, Finds Beauty Anew

Originally Published by The New York Times
By Anthony Tommasini

KATONAH, N.Y. — The conductor Will Crutchfield’s Bel Canto at Caramoor program has been bringing eager audiences to this festival here in Westchester County each summer for performances of operas from the early 19th century. On Saturday at Caramoor’s Venetian Theater Mr. Crutchfield turned to a work that couldn’t seem further from the era and style of bel canto: Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites,” performed in the original French. First presented in 1957, this austerely beautiful and wrenching opera, loosely based on a historical event — the guillotining of 16 nuns from the Carmelite convent of Compiègne during the French Revolution — owes more to Debussy and Neo-Classical Stravinsky than the bel canto composers of an earlier time. Read more