Bernadette reveals her inner strength and character as she sings of the life-changing moment when she first saw a vision of a beautiful girl on the banks of the river Gave.
1. JUST AN IMAGE
The Narrator (a barman in a thriving brasserie) explains the roots of the town’s success to a couple of young hitchhikers.
3. DON’T YOU BERNADETTE
Dean Peyramale, the head of the regional church, revels in his authority as he subjects a silent Bernadette to her first interview. He is convinced that Bernadette is nothing more than a poverty-stricken fraudster and that he will be able to crush her like an irritating insect.
4. LOOKING TO MAKE IT LAST
Bernadette and Marie-Helene (a local barmaid) sing together, but for different reasons, of how they wish that time would stand still. Marie-Helene pleads for more time with her baby daughter who is dying of tuberculosis. At the same time on the other side of the stage, Bernadette begs for the apparitions to continue as she senses that the most amazing and joyful experience of her life will soon end.
5. PROFESSIONAL MEN
A doctor, a lawyer and a priest indulge in some verbal jousting as each attempts to show the superiority of his own profession in dealing with the “Bernadette phenomenon”. The action takes place in a crowded bar, towards the end of a rowdy evening.
6. BARMAID’S BLUES
Marie-Helene, a beautiful barmaid who is now approaching middle age, sings of life’s missed opportunities as she clears up at the end of the night. There are strong undertones of jealousy and we are aware of Marie-Helene’s dismay that Bernadette is the new star in town.
7. THE INQUISITION
Dutour (a lawyer) and Peyramale subject Bernadette to a brutal and sarcastic interrogation. Against a hip-hop beat, the two men bombard Bernadette with questions. Silent at first, she eventually responds with disarming strength and simplicity.
8. TODAY TONIGHT FOREVER
After a fierce confrontation with the police, the local people emerge victorious as word arrives that the Emperor has permitted access to the shrine. The downtrodden townspeople sing powerfully of their vision for the future of Lourdes. This song is about Lourdes and the imagery of Lourdes. It is about the building of the church and the building of faith.
9. PEYRAMALE’S CONSCIENCE
A pivotal moment in the story as Peyramale begins to undergo a change of heart. Having previously dismissed Bernadette as an annoying example of the superstitions of the uneducated, he now begins to wonder whether his destiny is entwined with hers. His mental anguish is apparent as he struggles to reconcile his duties as an intellectual and a church leader with his growing feeling that there is something very special about Bernadette.
10. YOUR BIGGEST FANS
Bernadette is on the celebrity “A-list” as the guest of honour at a ball hosted by a Mme Millet, a wealthy local woman. The smart-set, newly arrived from Paris, prod and pet Bernadette until her discomfort finally gets the better of her.
11. IF YOU COULD TEACH ME LOVE
This song offers the hope of redemption for Marie-Helene (the Barmaid) and Dutour (the Prosecutor) as they both become aware of their incapacity for love.
12. DISCO MILLER
Francois, Bernadette’s father, has invited some friends over. He loves a drink and a party and he is quickly in full swing. With a strong 70’s vibe, t
his song also provides a quirky homage to the extravagances of the disco era.
13. DO YOU REMEMBER?
Peyramale, astute and ambitious as ever, realises that the shrine is threatened by Bernadette’s increasing celebrity status. In this duet, Peyramale persuades a reluctant Bernadette that she must leave Lourdes and begin a new life in exile. Each sweet memory of home evoked by Bernadette is rebutted by Peyramale, as he constantly reminds her that her old life has sadly gone forever.
The story has moved on a few years and Bernadette is alone with Peyramale on her death-bed. She is wracked with pain and feels that she has nothing more to give to those who persist in questioning her. It is as if she has lived through such an intensity of experience that her youth has been burnt away.
15. JUST AN IMAGE (REPRISE)
The Narrator rounds off the story for the hitchhikers in the bar. Although he maintains his impartiality - telling us we can “take it or leave it” – we are left with the feeling that, there is a spiritual depth beneath the Narrator’s street-wise philosophy. He invites the listener to “take a look around before you head for the beach”, implying that Lourdes is a great place to explore the complex questions of life and the co-existence of the spiritual and the material.