Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy
conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen — stage director Katie Mitchell
Pelléas et Mélisande
Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)
Lyrical drama in five acts
Libretto by the composer adapted from the play by Maurice Maeterlinck
First performed on 30 April 1902 at the Opéra Comique, Paris
In a forest where he has lost his way, Golaud happens upon Mélisande. He marries her and takes her back home to the family castle. There, Mélisande gets to know Pelléas, Golaud’s half-brother. Something happens between them: “something that is stronger than I”, sighs Mélisande, and something that Golaud will struggle to make sense of – and that will ultimately lead to the tragedy. Set against a backdrop as old as the Western world itself, the symbolist writer Maurice Maeterlinck’s drama of light and shade inspired Claude Debussy to weave an opera steeped in mystery and shot through with silence. Katie Mitchell highlights the dreamlike realism of this masterpiece in a new production that is highly anticipated, not least for its interpretation by the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen. After the journey from Allemonde to Aix, the suffocating beauty of Pelléas et Mélisande remains intact.