Sunday, January 29, 2012 | 4:00pm
John Austin Heloise and Abelard

Edward Jones, conductor

Libretto by Christine Froula

Heloise and Abelard is a new opera about the famous lovers of twelfth-century Paris. It tells the story of two brilliant, disciplined, courageous revolutionaries: an eloquent, visionary woman whose integrity and conviction would make her unusual even today, and a charismatic troubadour lyricist and church philosopher, cruelly punished for teaching that reason is a divine gift, not a threat to faith. The drama interweaves their passionate, turbulent love with profound spiritual questions and high-stakes theological and personal contests, such as Abelard’s battles with Bernard of Clairvaux and Abbot Suger’s confiscation of the ancient, wealthy convent of Argenteuil (where Heloise was educated) to fund the pioneering Gothic style of the Cathedral of St. Denis, burial place of the French kings. All the voices, singing and instrumental, interact as if in an extended dramatic madrigal of a lyric modernity that evokes the medieval period’s sculptural aesthetics.

Presented by the Memorial Church of Harvard University

Ticket Prices: Regular: $15.00; Students: $5.00; Seniors (65+): $10.00; Harvard Students: Free (1 ticket per student per ID).

Please contact the Harvard Box Office 617-496-2222

News and Press

[Concert Review] Heloise and Abelard at Harvard

Tales of thwarted love frequently do well on stage, and the story of Heloise and Abelard is no exception. This dramatic tale, discovered by scholars through recovered love letters, is all the richer for being true: passionate love between a tutor-philosopher, Abelard, and his brilliant student, Heloise; an unexpected pregnancy; a violent castration. It is cinematic or—as composer John Austin ’56, LL.B. ’60, thought—operatic.

Harvard Magazine Full review