Joan of Arc has been portrayed as a saint, witch, mystic, cross-dresser, androgynous knight, religious
zealot, harlot, proto-feminist, aristocratic usurper, saviour of France and martyr. There is no record
of what Joan looked like: the face of the heroine is blank and her physical appearance is mostly
unknown. Whoever Joan was, her detailed and extensive trial records - the most extensive legal
record of any man or woman in the Middle-Ages - present us with the words she said, decisions she
made and the actions that led to her death. By using quotes from her trial record, extracts from G B
Shaw’s Saint Joan and historically informed writing, ‘La Pucelle’ explores Joan of Arc’s personality
with three singers portraying her multifaceted persona: Joan the Maid, Joan the Heretic and Joan
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A Chamber Opera in One Act Duration c. 60mins.
The scene takes place in a court room and is the last in a series of trial sessions.
The Judges and Joan(s) stand in a ‘V’ formation with room for the Saints to move
Joan the Maid - Soprano (Georgie Gulliver)
Joan the Heretic - Mezzo - Soprano (Grace Chapman)
Joan the Knight - Alto (Emily Hodkinson)
Earl of Warwick - Contralto (Gregory Pritchard)
Bishop Pierre Cauchon - Baritone (Danny Purtell)
Inquisitor - Bass (Angus Bower-Brown)
Saint Catherine - Alto I (Helena Cooke)
Saint Margaret - Alto II (Natasha Worsley)
Saint Michael - Tenor (Caolan Keaveny)
Flute (Natalie Edwards), Oboe (Jonny Lyons), Bassoon (Polly Hutchinson), French Horn (Fred Stanford), Percussion I (Jane Chan), Percussion II (Keir Hall), Violin (Rich Powell), Viola (Imogen Clarke), Cello (Gaia Blandina)
Percussion Includes: Vibraphone, Bells, Suspended Cymbal (bow as well as sticks), Snare Drum con corde (x=rim shot unless indicated otherwise), Bass Drum, Bass Tom-Tom, Wood Block, Triangle, Timpani ( tuned to F and Bb and later F# and B).
Sources for the Libretto are a combination of my own academically informed writing, George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan and Joan of Arc’s trial record translated into English in 1903 and updated into modern English by Mathias Gabel and Carlyn Iuzzolino.