Adrianne Pieczonka (centre) photo: Michael Cooper
by Shannon Christy
As Madame de Croissy, the First Prioress, Ms. Forst was simply brilliant. Thrillingly brilliant.
The music seems straight out of a Hitchcock film. It is a deliberate mixture of romanticism and 20th century abstraction and seamlessly takes us through this challenging intellectual endeavour. For example, at the end of the second act as the First Prioress (Judith Forst) loses her faith as death approaches and disavows God only to be ignored by her order the music rips and tears with dissonant chords before returning to a melody that suggests a return to the routine of the order. The music (Francis Poulenc) is mentally, spiritually, and emotionally chilling. Conductor Johannes Debus does another outstanding job carrying the tempo forward though at times the volume of the orchestra drowns out the vocal performances, and in particular the few male performances.