Sister Angelica by Puccini
Sung in English
Music Direction by
Stage Direction by
Sandi Rabas pianist
Angelica-Michelle Kei Ishuu
Abbess-Kristin Van Luchene
Mistress of the Novices-Sara Ricord
Nursing Sister-Jess Shultis
Tourieres-Danielle Dodge, Amanda Leonard
Nun's Choir-Kristin Van Luchene, Judy Kniss, Carly McKenzie, Janie
Rife, Christa Salomon, Jess Shultis, Erin Small, Amanda Leonard,
Christina Pezzarossi, Jacqueline Weitz, Kimiko Bennion, Mary Ryan,
and Ashley Miller
Time: The latter part of the 17th century.
The opera opens with scenes showing typical aspects of life in the
convent — all the sisters sing hymns, the Monitor scolds two
lay-sisters, everyone gathers for recreation in the courtyard. The
sisters rejoice because, as the Mistress of Novices explains, this
is the first of three evenings that occur each year when the setting
sun strikes the fountain to turn its water golden. This event causes
the sisters to remember a sister who has died, Bianca Rosa. Sister
Genevieve suggests they pour some of the golden water onto her tomb.
The nuns then discuss their desires — while the Monitor believes
that any desire at all is wrong, Sister Genevieve confesses that she
wishes to see lambs again because she used to be a shepherd when she
was a girl, and Sister Dolcina wishes for something good to eat.
Sister Angelica claims to have no desires, but as soon as she says
so, the nuns begin gossiping — Sister Angelica has lied, because her
true desire is to hear from her wealthy, noble family, whom she has
not heard from in seven years. The rumors have it that she was sent
to the convent in punishment.
The conversation is interrupted by the Infirmary Sister, who begs
Sister Angelica to make an herbal remedy — Sister Angelica's
specialty. Two Tourieres then arrive, bringing supplies to the
convent, as well as news that a grand coach is waiting outside the
convent. Sister Angelica immediately becomes nervous and upset,
thinking rightly that someone in her family has come to visit her.
The Abbess chastises Sister Angelica for her inappropriate
excitement and then goes on to announce the visitor, the Princess,
Sister Angelica's aunt.
The Princess explains that Angelica's sister is to be married to the
man that used to be her lover and that Angelica must sign a document
renouncing her claim to her inheritance. Angelica replies that she
has repented for her sin, but there is one thing she cannot offer in
sacrifice to the Virgin — she cannot forget the memory of her
illegitimate son who was taken from her seven years ago. The
Princess refuses to speak, but finally informs Sister Angelica that
her son died of fever two years ago. Sister Angelica, devastated,
signs the document and collapses in tears. The Princess leaves.
Sister Angelica is seized by a heavenly vision — she believes she
hears her son calling for her to meet him in paradise. She makes
herself a poison and drinks it, but realizes that in committing
suicide she has damned herself. She begs the Virgin Mary for mercy
and, as she dies, she sees a miracle: the Virgin Mary appears, along
with Sister Angelica's son, who runs to embrace her.