Benjamin Levy conducts Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy in concert version

May 2nd 2018 Interartists Amsterdam
Theatre de Champs Elysees

One of the most disturbing love stories in the French repertoire, in which the poetry of the sung word is raised to a very demanding level.

Guillaume Andrieux Pelléas
Sabine Devieilhe Mélisande
Alain Buet Golaud
Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo Geneviève
Jérôme Varnier Arkel
Camille Poul Yniold
Virgile Ancely Le médecin

Benjamin Levy direction
Orchestre de Chambre Pelléas
Jeune Chœur de Paris

In 1893, when he was absorbed in his quest for a new musical form in which the characters would sing “naturally”, Debussy and his friend Mallarmé attended a one-off performance of Maeterlinck’s play. It was a revelation, as the poet’s prose and dreamlike atmosphere echoed Debussy’s own explorations. The opera based on this story, on which he started work immediately, showcased his new operatic treatment of “literary matter” in which he alternates between wild sensuality and unprecedented violence. But language is not everything in this unique work. The orchestra is wonderful, both in its dazzling moments and its subtlety, supporting and stressing every word. In the final analysis, the work is a depressing vision of humanity devoid of hope or redemption. Even the innocence of the lovers fails to find favour here. But what an extraordinary work! Its power and modernity ensure that it “blazed a trail for others to follow”, as the author predicted.
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Benjamin Levy conducts Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy in concert version
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