Dialogues des Carmélites at the Guildhall School
Poulenc Dialogues des Carmélites is, without any doubt, one of the opera masterpieces from the 20th century. It is also a risky take for a English musical school with some many long recitative parts. The English coaching was excellent on the pronunciation but not so well in the expression, lacking of natural inflexions and sounding some times a little bit flat.
Lucy Anderson sang Blanche very nicely with a powerfull and authoritative voice. She developed very well the character showing the contrast from the first scenes and the later in the convent.
Claire Lees was pure joy as Sister Constance. She perfectly expressed the contrast in character with Blanche though her voice. Very well casted and very well sung.
Older nun roles were more difficult to cast with students but they did quite well. Men were also ok, with very resolutive Eduard Mas and Jake Muffett as Blanche father and brother.
Martin Lloyd Evans production was austere, and that always fits well to this opera. Moving panels and actors/singers bringing in and out scenic elements. The problem was in actors direction. It was ridiculous, exaggerated and totally unnecessary. When it is only one of the singers behaving like this you can thing its because is a bad actor, but here it was the whole cast, so I can only think about bad direction.
The distressing final scene was amazingly sung but disappointingly staged. True is that some productions tends to exaggerate the sound of the guillotine hits trying to make effect by shocking like bad horror movies. But here the pre-recorded sound was badly mixed with the orchestral sound and with the acting.