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Francis Poulenc

Dialogues des Carmélites

3 h 10 min, incl. 1 interval (30 min)
26.1.2024 – 23.2.2024
Main Stage
Price range
20–134 €
French. Surtitles in Finnish, Swedish and English
Age recommendation

On the brink of life and death

Now seen for the first time at the Finnish National Opera, Dialogues des Carmélites is a masterpiece based on a true story. The opera tells the tale of a young woman from an aristocratic family who seeks refuge in a convent to escape the terror of the revolutionaries. Composer Francis Poulenc’s combination of haunting melodies and religious hymns lingers in your memory long after the guillotine’s fateful blade has fallen. This philosophical opera delves into deep existential questions such as fear and death.

Compared to other operatic works, Dialogues des Carmélites features an exceptionally large variety of soprano, mezzo-soprano, and alto roles, all performed by renowned Finnish singers. This award-winning and visually striking production by the French director Olivier Py had its acclaimed world premiere at the Theatre de Champs-Elysées in Paris in 2013.

A production of the Theatre de Champs-Elysées in Paris.

“A masterpiece … the most thrilling and altogether the most accomplished performance in Paris for a long time … An incredible achievement, brilliant and unforgettable.”

– Le Monde

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The story of Dialogues des Carmélites is inspired by the memoir of Mother Marie de l’Incarnation de Dieu, who survived the horrors of the French Revolution.

At the beginning of the revolution, a young woman named Blanche de la Force joins the Carmelite convent. The strict rules of the convent provide her with a sense of security, but she is still haunted by her own fears.

As the revolution intensifies and religious orders are suppressed, the Carmelite sisters refuse to renounce their faith and choose to die as martyrs. Amidst the chaos, Blanche flees the convent and returns home, only to discover that her father has become a victim of the guillotine. She also learns that her fellow sisters have been condemned to death. When the execution takes place, she climbs the platform to join them.

The full synopsis can be found in the programme leaflet.

creative team

Francis Poulenc
Francis Poulenc
Hannu Lintu, James Sherlock
Olivier Py
Assistant Director
Daniel Izzo
Pierre-André Weitz
Pierre-André Weitz
Lighting design
Bertrand Killy


Blanche de la Force
Marjukka Tepponen
Blanche de la Force
Tuuli Takala
Sister Constance
Sanna Iljin
Sister Constance
Iris Candelaria
Madame Lidoine, The New Prioress
Pauliina Linnosaari
Madame Lidoine, The New Prioress
Kirsi Tiihonen
Mother Marie
Tuija Knihtilä
Mother Marie
Niina Keitel
Marquis de la Force
Markus Nieminen
Marquis de la Force
Heikki Kilpeläinen
Chevalier de la Force
Tuomas Katajala
Chevalier de la Force
Markus Nykänen
Madame de Croissy, The Prioress
Anna Danik
Madame de Croissy, The Prioress
Johanna Rusanen
A Priest
Mika Pohjonen
A Priest
Petri Vesa
Mother Jeanne
Ida Wallén
Mother Jeanne
Getter Unt
Aarne Pelkonen
Samuli Takkula
Tuomas Lehtinen
Sister Mathilde
Jeni Packalen
Sister Mathilde
Minna Grönthal
First commissary
Jasper Leppänen
First commissary
Joel Forsström
Second commissary
Arto Hosio
Second commissary
Joonas Orrain
Comissioned Officer
Arto Hosio
Comissioned Officer
Joonas Orrain

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