USC hosts ‘Dialogues of the Carmelites’ April 25-28

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“Dialogues of the Carmelites,” Francis Poulenc’s opera of a young woman’s spiritual journey from fear to faith, will be presented April 25-28 by the USC Thornton Opera Program and USC Thornton Symphony.

Written by Poulenc immediately after World War II, the opera is based on historical events at the monastery of Carmelite nuns in Compiègne, France, in the wake of the French Revolution, at the time of state seizure of the monastery's assets — events which ultimately led to execution by guillotine for the nuns.

The opera traces a fictional path and centers on the life of young Blanche de la Force, who with her fellow sisters are challenged to renounce their religion in order to survive — or to make the ultimate sacrifice by remaining true to their beliefs. The audience is likewise challenged to consider their own beliefs, and how far they are willing to go to defend them.

Originally set during the French Revolution (approximately 1789-94), “Dialogues” also has been reworked to be set in Nazi-controlled Europe, when persecutions of priests and religious took place. The opera had its world premiere in January 1957 in Italian at La Scala in Milan; the original French version took place in June of that year in Paris; and its first English-language presentation was in September 1957 in San Francisco.

Performances will be held at USC’s University Park Campus Bing Theatre near Exposition Park south of downtown Los Angeles. Performances are scheduled April 25-27, 8 p.m., and April 28, 2 p.m. General admission is $18, $12 for seniors and non-USC students. For information, call (213) 740-4672 or visit www.usc.edu/tickets.




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Three kinds of spiritualities

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

All of us struggle, and we struggle in three ways. First, sometimes we struggle simply to maintain ourselves, to stay healthy and stable, to stay normal, to not fall apart, to not have our lives unravel into chaos and depression.

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