Pelléas and Mélisande

[Pelléas et Mélisande]

Opera by Claude Debussy, Libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck

Premiered on February 7, 1997 at the Paris National Opera, Palais Garnier, Paris, France
Premiered on July 21, 1997 at the Salzburg Festival, Großes Festspielhaus, Salzburg, Austria

Performed in French.

Before discovering Maeterlinck’s play, Debussy said of the opera he dreamt of composing: “Music begins when words are powerless to express; music is perfect for the inexpressible; I would like it to seem to come out of the shadows and, at times, to go back, always discreet.” Thanks to Maeterlinck’s characters, to his highly precise and very vague language, so cruel and so apt, Debussy was able to realise the drama of his dreams. A fateful enchantment holds sway over the castle of Allemonde. No sooner does Golaud find Mélisande in the forest and bring her to the kingdom of his ancestors than they find themselves unable to leave, chained to a place that nevertheless belongs nowhere. The castle is racked by desolation and decay. The park seems to be dying under the weight of invisible darkness. The sun barely manages to break through and cast light on the miraculous yet abandoned fountain which used to heal the eyes of the blind and whose waters appear to be bottomless. From the walls one can see the sea, and, at last, the clear sky. But there are also underground tunnels leading to the centre of the earth, suddenly reminding us that we are forever walking over chasms.
— Paris National Opera

Upcoming Dates

Past Dates

A DVD of Robert Wilson's signature production, under the baton of Philippe Jordan, and with Stéphane Degout and Elena Tsallagova in the title roles, was released in 2012 and can be obtained in our shop.

Pelléas et Mélisande, directed by Robert Wilson (DVD)

2012 DVD release of Robert Wilson's iconic Pelleas and Melisande production, which premiered at the Salzburger Festival in 1997 and has been in repertoire at the Paris Opera to this day. 

As Mélisande, the wide-eyed Elena Tsallagova fills out Wilson's spacious poses with the feline self-absorption of a Tang-dynasty princess, her voice as cool and clear as a wind chime. (Opera News)

Stéphane Degout (Pelléas)
Elena Tsallagova (Mélisande)
Vincent Le Texier (Golaud)
Anne Sofie von Otter (Geneviève)
Franz Josef Selig (Arkel)
Julie Mathevet (Yniold)
Jérôme Varnier (Un Berger, Le Médecin)
Orchestra and Chorus of Opéra National de Paris, conducted by Philippe Jordan
Direction, Set and Light Design by Robert Wilson

Recorded in March 2012 at the Opéra National de Paris

Naïve DR2159, 168 mins., subtitled
DVD 9, Region Code 0, Picture Format 16:9
UPC: 822186021590

Click here to watch a video excerpt.

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