“Full-blooded account of an inexhaustible score” ★★★★ The Telegraph
“Riveting” ★★★★★ The Times
“A world of melancholy twilight with ravishing allusion” ★★★★★ The Independent
“Superb revival of Debussy’s magical opera” ★★★★ The Guardian
“Compelling... not a word or image is wasted” ★★★★ Financial Times
Entranced by the sudden appearance and mysterious beauty of Mélisande, Prince Golaud falls in love and marries her, but only for Mélisande to become even closer to his half-brother Pelléas. Convinced that he has been betrayed, Golaud is consumed by jealousy, and a tragic spiral of events unfolds with grave consequences for all.
Sensual and elusive, beautiful and troubling, this tragic opera is filled with symbolism and enigmatic detail, with Claude Debussy’s score based on a text by the Belgian Nobel Literature Laureate Maurice Maeterlinck. Far removed from Wagnerian weightiness and the recitative-aria Italian style, Debussy’s only complete opera epitomises his captivating musical style filled with lingering melodies and a mystical sonority.
Welsh National Opera is no stranger to this masterpiece; a 1992 production directed by Peter Stein and conducted by Pierre Boulez is still considered authoritative. David Pountney, acclaimed WNO Artistic Director, has taken on the challenge of staging this opera by transposing Maeterlinck’s forest setting to an imposing giant metal lattice and offering “an enigmatic, pulse-racing production full of characteristic verve and edginess” (Wales Theatre Awards 2016 “Best Opera Production”). With an apparent authority and sensitivity (The Times), Lothar Koenigs perfectly pits the intense but subtle pacing of the drama on stage against Debussy’s shimmering score.
Sensational and intriguing, this production marks the 2018 centenary of Claude Debussy’s death.
With the Orchestra and Chorus of the Welsh National Opera and Die Konzertisten
Approx 3 hrs 10 mins incl one interval
Performed in French with English and Chinese surtitles
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Claude Debussy is considered one of the greatest 20th century composers. Consciously moving away from the ostentation of Wagnerian romanticism, the French composer was inspired by the symbolists and the Impressionist movement; his innovations in harmony, timbre and colour had a profound influence on generations of composers. Pelléas et Mélisande is considered a turning point in Debussy’s career, defining his unique skill in orchestration and vocal writing, and earning him extensive recognition as a leading figure in French music alongside other seminal works for orchestra and for solo piano.