EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - Emily Pulley (cont.)

     And when folks here feel a real connection to the art form, they become truly devoted and ardent supporters. The arts couldn't survive without those people, and
we have them here in abundance, thank God!
     That kind of support gives companies and artists the freedom to be creative and strive to produce projects of great passion and high quality.  And I believe that will always be noticed, especially in a time when so many companies are beginning to succumb to the lure of smoke and mirrors rather than substance - or, as a friend of mine puts it, "all sizzle, no steak."  What makes Dialogues of the Carmelites such an important work?

E.P.:  For me, the most important aspect of the piece is that it's based on a true story and shows that good can indeed overcome evil - and that surrendering your power can actually make you stronger. Whatever your religious beliefs, the knowledge that these women died for something greater than themselves - and that their noble sacrifice was somehow able to penetrate the hardened exterior of a bloodthirsty mob - really does give you hope for humanity. Of course, the music is extraordinary, too, and I think the characters reflect almost every aspect of our own struggle with existential fear, and our need to rise above it through love in order to achieve true freedom.  Since you have performed the opera before, what should Austinites expect from this production of the opera?

E.P.:  I am extraordinarily proud of this production. It has been a remarkably collaborative effort from Day One, and I am thrilled with my colleagues and crew, and their commitment to making this something special and memorable. Each moment in the show has been worked and reworked to try to give it maximum impact, so every ounce of energy the audience is willing to invest in the piece will be duly rewarded.
     There is a lot of profundity that's thrown at you pretty quickly, and the pace of this production doesn't allow you the chance to process things between scenes.  So I think it's best to simply remain alert and let yourself take it all in, and worry about figuring it out later.
     The final scene is already inherently one of the most moving in all of opera, and the staging our brilliant director has conceived is absolutely breathtaking. I was overwhelmed the first time I saw it, and continue to be amazed by it - and even more amazed that I'm still able to sing at all after watching it!

     Dialogues of the Carmelites plays April 18th, 22nd, 24th and 26th at The Long Center for the Performing Arts, located at 701 W. Riverside Drive.  Austin Lyric Opera's Principal Conductor Richard Buckley will lead ALO's orchestra and stage director Eric Einhorn will direct the production.  
    Single tickets are currently on sale, starting at $20.    For tickets and information, call (512) 472-5992, toll free at (800) 31-OPERA, or visit

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Emily Pulley (photo courtesy Herbert Barrett Management)