Suor Angelica is the tragic tale of a woman who bears a child out of wedlock and is sent to a convent to repent for her sins. The opera follows the sisters on a particular holiday in their year, a celebration of May and the start of spring, when the evening sun lights the font in their courtyard golden. The opening of the opera follows the normal daily routines of the nuns: we see them being scolded for speaking out of turn or not completing tasks, gossiping about their sisters, and laughing together. Life continues as normal until one of the Touriers brings news of a splendid coach outside. The bell rings announcing a visitor, and the Abbess calls Sister Angelica to greet her aunt, the Princess, who has come to ask her to sign some papers. Despite the Abbess’s warnings, Angelica is overcome with emotion at her Aunt’s presence, the first visitor she’s had in seven years. She cannot hold her peace and asks frantically for news of her son. The Aunt’s news is devastating. Two years previously, Angelica’s son was stricken with a mortal sickness, and nothing could save him. In her distress, Angelica resolves there is only one option left for her to see her son again. A clarity comes over her as she makes a poison from her herb garden and drinks it. In her agony she screams for the sisters that she has committed suicide, and an offstage prayer asking for forgiveness can be heard. As Angelica dies, there is a miracle of light and the figure of the Virgin appears with a young boy.
Suor Angelica guide sections