Opera Finale 2017
When Joan, the daughter of a rich farmer and mayor in Lorraine, was 13 she heard voices calling upon her to serve God. Archangel Michael, St. Katherine and St. Margaret told her to travel to France and save the country from the English. Her victory during the 100 year war made her a national heroine. She went to war, dressed as a man, freed a city under siege but lost her life as a victim of the Inquisition. Accused of heresy she was interrogated, found guilty and sentenced to death at the stake. She became a legend in her own lifetime. Her ashes were scattered among the stones. She has no grave but she was never forgotten. A second tribunal found her innocent in 1456, only 25 years after her death, and she was made a saint in 1929. She was the inspiration for many writers and composers, including Friedrich Schiller, Williams Shakespeare, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Jean Anouilh, Bertolt Brecht and Felix Mitterer, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Walter Felsenstein and Salvatore Sciarrino – and Walter Braunfels' book, written in Nazi times. Many films have been made about this girl from Lorraine, directed by, amongst others Victor Fleming, Roberto Rossellini, Otter Preminger, Robert Bresson, Jacques Eivette and Luc Besson - with many well known actresses in the leading role, including Ingrid Bergman, Jean Seberg, Sandrine Bonnaire and Milla Jovovich. The new production of Arthur Honegger's oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher / Joan at the Stake (1938) is the focus of this season's Opera Finale.