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Further Reading

Further Reading

By Nick Harker and Alyssa Liu

Herald, Tyler R. “Dialogues of the Carmelites: A Scenic Design.” MFA thesis, University of Maryland, College Park, 2018.

This thesis contains extensive research and set design information for the 2018 production of Dialogues of the Carmelites at the University of Maryland, College Park. The work contains the creative vision, several photographs of historical locations in Revolutionary-era France, explanations of research processes, and reports of the 2018 set design.


Poulenc, Francis. Francis Poulenc: Articles and Interviews: Notes from the Heart. Collected, introduced, and annotated by Nicolas Southon. Translated by Roger Nichols. London and New York: Ashgate Publishing, 2014.

Musicologist Dr. Nicolas Southon compiled and annotated this invaluable collection of articles and interviews by Poulenc, translated by Roger Nichols. Articles XI and XXXII contain helpful insights on the writing process of Dialogues des Carmélites.

Diderot, Denis. The Nun. Translated by Russell Goulbourne. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Diderot’s Le Religieuse (The Nun) first appeared as a series of letters in the Correspondance littéraire between 1780 and 1782. The fictional memoir of Suzanne Simonin, a nun forced into convent life in eighteenth-century France, places the reader in the context of Revolutionary-era France and revealing the normality of convent life at the time.


Eicher, Joanne B., and Lynne Hume. “Hierarchies and Power: Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church.” in Religious Life of Dress: Global Fashion and Faith. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

The costuming in this opera must take cues from how the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchical structure was reflected in their attire. In this chapter, Eicher and Lynne explore how the church’s attire was altered by color to show the religious hierarchy. In addition, the authors observe that male authorities in the Church are adorned with “expensive fabrics” and “precious gems,” contrasting with the women in plain, colorless robes.


Gregory, Brad S. Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.

In an effort to understand the context of the nuns in this operatic story, Gregory’s book is extremely useful as it traces several events of martyrdom in sixteenth-century Europe. He compares the deaths of religious individuals from several Christian sects, and explores the significance of martyrdom to the development of Christian thought.

Herrold, Charles M., Jr. “Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. A Historical, Literary, Textual, Musical Analysis.” MA Thesis, University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, 1975.

If you are interested in learning more about the musical aspects of this opera, then this paper is the one for you. Herrold explores Poulenc’s use of harmonic structure, tonal devices, and leitmotifs, as well as how the French language influenced the vocal lines of the music. All of this is placed within the historical context of the opera.


Sellers, Henry. “Francis Poulenc and His Sacred Choral Music: Some Style Characteristics of Poulenc’s Sacred Choral Music - Part II.” The Choral Journal 17, no. 8 (1977): 11-14.

While this article does not speak directly to Dialogues per se, it does provide some valuable insight into Poulenc’s vocal writing style. This insight can help one listening to the opera understand, at least in part, what Poulenc is communicating to the audience.


Daniel, Keith William. “Francis Poulenc: A Study of Hi Artistic Development and His Musical Style.” PhD diss., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1980.

One of the most comprehensive and informative of not only Dialogues, but of all of Poulenc’s works to date, this resource is invaluable to anyone that is looking for additional information on Poulenc’s life, work, and compositional style.


Wilson, Jordan. “Pronunciation Issues Within Twentieth Century French Music.” DMA diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014.

Ever wonder what linguistic training the singers on stage had to endure to bring forth the most authentic performance possible? This in depth approach of pronunciation of not just Poulenc’s music, but all modern French music will provide a glimpse of what this singers have to do to prepare for a performance such as this.


Swingle-Putland, Rebecca. “Dialogues des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc: An Historical Disquisition, Preparing a Singer to Perform a Role in the Opera, Authentically, Emotionally, and Musically.” DMA diss., University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2006.

The performers in an opera not only have to go through linguistic training and musical training, but need to understand their character’s motivations, backgrounds, and emotions. This dissertation provides some insight into what a singer has to go through to prepare for a role in its entirety.

Last Updated: 3/22/23