Colin Jones, Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London wrote an excellent and informative article on the true story behind Francis Poulenc’s dramatic opera, Dialogue des Carmélites, for publication in the program booklet of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden’s 2014 production of the famous work.
Although written for opera-lovers, it is an excellent, brief, “deep-dive” article for friends of Carmel and Carmelites that is noteworthy for its historical rigor.
‘Today, 40 individuals had their heads cut off, including 16 Carmelite nuns from Compiègne.’
Célestin Guittard de Floriban
17 July 1794
Of this quote, Professor Jones writes, “This fragment, dated 17 July 1794, from the diary of 69-year-old Célestin Guittard de Floriban (who took a particular interest in the public guillotinings) serves to remind us that Dialogues des Carmélites had at its centre a real event.”
The article that appears on the Royal Opera House website is but an extract of his full article that appeared in the printed program. Nevertheless, it merits attention. You can read the online version here.
Learn more about the Royal Opera House’s 2014 production of Dialogue des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc, produced by Robert Carsen, here.