Saint Francis of Assisi is an opera in 3 acts by Olivier Messiaen. This volume is part of the edition that includes the books with the full Orchestra scores, as well as the explanations, analysis and comments of each tableau. It is focused on the “Act 3, Tableau 7. Les stigmates” which tells of the moment when Saint Francis receives the stigmata which proves that God approves his status of Saint.
This tableau is happening when Saint Francis is alone, in a cave in Verna. The music, with a choir, depicts a feeling of anxiety until the Choir interprets the voice of the Christ. Saint Francis is then hit by some light from a cross that appeared to him, in the exact same places where the Christ was hit by the Stigmata. The Orchestra is really strong on that tableau and depicts one of the most important moments of the opera
Based on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, this opera is set in Italy and is divided as per below:
1. La croix
2. Les laudes
3. Le baiser au lépreux
4. L’ange voyageur
5. L’ange musicien
6. Le prêche aux oiseaux
7. Les stigmates
8. La mort et la nouvelle vie
This opera was first played at the Paris Opera in 1983.
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was a French Organist and composer passionate about Ornithology and one of the most important composers of his century. Inspired by Japanese music, he had a very special way of composing and his work can be identified by its complexity, its diatonic aspect, its harmony with limited transposition, its colour and its additive rhythms. He composed many works related to ornithology and birdsong, including the Bird Catalogue in 7 volumes and the Treatise on rhythm, colour and ornithology in 7 volumes.