Nonne sanglante, La (‘The Bleeding Nun’)
- Steven Huebner
(‘The Bleeding Nun’)
Opéra in five acts by Charles-François Gounod to a libretto by Eugène Scribe and Germain Delavigne after Matthew Gregory Lewis’s novel The Monk; Paris, Opéra, 18 October 1854.
Rodolphe (tenor) learns that the hand of his beloved Agnès (soprano) will be given to his brother according to terms of a peace treaty between the Ludorf and the Moldaw families. He persuades Agnès to elope with him disguised as the legendary ghost of the Bleeding Nun. Unfortunately, at the designated midnight rendezvous the ghost herself appears instead of Agnès. Thereafter, Rodolphe is plagued by the Nun’s nocturnal visits. He is finally given permission to marry Agnès, but to be rid of the ghost he must kill the man who murdered her while she was a mortal. That man is revealed, at an opulently staged marriage ceremony for Rodolphe and Agnès, to be his own father, Ludorf (bass). As a result, Rodolphe cannot go through with the marriage and the old family feud breaks out again. Moved by his son’s turmoil, Ludorf sacrifices himself to Moldaw assassins and the Nun is avenged....