An unforgettable Pelléas et Mélisande at the Southbank

Although widely recognised as a fin-de-siècle masterpiece, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande rarely makes it into the opera house. When it does, it is frequently cluttered with heavy-handed directorial concepts and curious set designs. These elements are unnecessary: much of the interest lies in the psychological element of the work, with Debussy’s score externalising the allusions captured in Maurice Maeterlinck’s enigmatic text. The approach taken by the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall was much more successful as an alternative: a concert performance with a few subtle additions to highlight certain aspects of the work. With the Philharmonia on top form, a stellar cast and minimal staging, this was a truly magnificent interpretation of the opera.

Read the full review at Bachtrack.

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