Anne-Sophie Schmidt (Blanche de la Force), Nadine Denize (Madame de Croissy), Hedwig Fassbender (Mere Marie), Patricia Petibon (Soeur Constance), Valérie Millot (Madame Lidoine), Laurence Dale (Le marquis de la Force), Didier Henry (Le chevalier de la Force)
Subtitles: PAL - German, English, Dutch; NTSC - English, Japanese
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“Marthe Keller's staging of Poulenc's austere, deeply eloquent opera was produced at the Opéra du Rhin early in 1999. Keller's simple ideas march precisely with the intentions of the original, the plain sets and economy of movement mirroring the direct simplicity of Poulenc's beautiful score. Every artist here performs in a wholly dedicated fashion as part of a well-tutored ensemble, no one more so than Anne Sophie Schmidt in depicting the psychological struggle and vulnerability of the central character, Blanche de la Force. With her greatly expressive features and her refined voice, Schmidt's portrayal is starkly moving. In complete contrast is Petibon's bright, radiant, perfectly sung Constance. Among the older members of the Convent community, Nadine Denize plays her two scenes as the Old Prioress with the authority and concentration they call for, going to her death as she loses her faith in an agonising bout of selfunderstanding. Hedwig Fassbender is all stern authority as Mother Marie, although one senses sympathy behind the harsh exterior, which is how this part should be. Valérie Millot is outwardly more sympathetic and warm as the new Prioress, Madame Lidoine, who instils courage in her charges when it comes to the crunch and, one by one, they go to the guillotine. Video direction, sound and picture quality are admirable. This is one of the most worthwhile opera performances yet to appear on DVD.”
“this DVD is a remarkably gripping and wholly convincing production...In Anne-Sophie Schmidt it has a Blanche who looks as good as she sounds, and a cast which has no weak member...The camerawork is imaginative without ever being intrusive and the production is so well managed that the longeurs which normally afflict the closing scene in the opera house pass unnoticed.”
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