New Productions

Claude Debussy
1862 - 1918

Drame lyrique in five acts
Libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck (1893)
World premiere April 30th 1902, Opéra Comique, Salle Favart, Paris

Sung in French with German surtitles

About the work

Maurice Maeterlinck’s story about the ill-fated love between Pelléas and Mélisande is a masterpiece of poetic symbolism, the real and unreal spheres captured to perfection in Debussy’s opera, the only one he ever completed.
   It takes place in a gloomy castle, Allemonde, home to old King Arkel and his family. Golaud met a maiden while out hunting. He has no idea from whence she came but realises that she is deeply troubled about something. Mélisande comes to Allemonde as his wife, where she meets Golaud’s mother Geneviève and his half-brother Pelléas. Pelléas and Mélisande fall in love but desperately try and keep it a secret. Mélisande loses Golaud’s ring at the very moment that he is thrown from his horse. Golaud finds out about his wife’s infidelity from Yniold, his son from his first marriage. Golaud kills his brother. Mélisande dies after giving birth to a daughter.
     Debussy’s use of declamatory elements and way of unveiling the mysterious through a commentating orchestral language resulted in a unique relationship between poetry and music. Debussy said: »The characters in Pelléas try to sing in a completely natural way and not in an autocratic tone of voice rooted in old fashioned tradions. I was reproached about my preference for monotone declamation and lack of melodic line. First of all this is not true and, secondly, people do not continually express their emotions in a melodic way.«

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Sunday 04.11.2012

Further performances:
08.11.2012  | 10.11.2012  |
18.11.2012  | 23.11.2012  |
25.11.2012  | 06.12.2012  |


Friedemann Layer
Claus Guth
Stage and Costume Designer
Christian Schmidt
Lighting Designer
Olaf Winter
Norbert Abels
Chorus Master
Felix Lemke

Arkel, König von Allemonde
Alfred Reiter
Christian Gerhaher
Christiane Karg
Golaud, Arkels Enkel
Paul Gay
Hilary Summers
Yniold, Golauds Sohn aus erster Ehe
David Jakob Schläger / Timothy Wilson
Ein Arzt
Sungkon Kim

Chorus and Orchestra of Oper Frankfurt

** Knabensolist des Mainzer Domchores


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