1989 Dialogues des Carmelites

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With a remarkable cast featuring Patricia Schuman, Joyce Castle, Mari-Anne Häggander, and Geraldine Decker, Seattle Opera’s only production of this twentieth-century masterpiece was extremely moving. Belgian mezzo-soprano Rita Gorr, then almost 62, was a memorable, searing Madame de Croissy. The staging, by François Rochaix, beautiful sets and costumes by Robert Dahlstrom, and Jean Fournet’s lyrical conducting, contributed to the power of the show, which also featured a remarkable supernumerary debut: Sara Baird Jenkins, mother of General Director Speight Jenkins, joined the nuns in an antique wheelchair—at age 88. (A beloved figure among the company’s singers, who regularly sent her postcards from their overseas engagements, she was to appear again in War and Peace as a dissipated aristocrat.)