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Pelléas et MélisandeNew production

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Dutch National Opera and BalletWaterlooplein 22, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
2019 June 05 19:30, June 08 19:30, June 12 19:30, June 16 14:00, June 18 19:30, June 23 14:00, June 27 19:30
Festival: Holland Festival
Dutch National Opera
Stéphane DenèveConductor
Olivier PyDirector
Pierre-André WeitzSet Designer, Costume Designer
Paul ApplebyTenorPelléas
Elena TsallagovaSopranoMélisande
Brian MulliganBaritoneGolaud
Peter RoseBassArkel
Katia LedouxContraltoGeneviève
Fredrik BergmanBaritoneShepherd
Michael WilmeringBassA Doctor
Gregor HoffmannBoy sopranoYniold
Maximilian LeicherBoy sopranoYniold
Bertrand KillyLighting Designer
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera

At the 2019 Holland Festival DNO will present a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande. This one and only opera by Claude Debussy is among the great high points of opera history.

The story of Pelléas et Mélisande is based on a symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck about a vicious love triangle entangling two brothers and one woman.


While out hunting one day, Golaud happens on a confused Mélisande weeping at a spring. He marries her and brings her home to his grandfather King Arkel’s castle, where Golaud’s younger half-brother Pelléas also lives. Mélisande and Pelléas fall in love. One day, she is playing with her wedding ring when it accidentally falls into a well. At same instant, Golaud takes a fall from his horse. Furious over her missing ring, Golaud sends Mélisande and Pelléas out to find it, instructing his son Yniold to spy on them to see if they are lovers. Yniold finds the couple embracing and kills Pelléas; Mélisande later dies in childbed after giving birth to a daughter. The symbolic significance of each of the opera’s four main characters, with Mélisande embodying the soul, Pelléas the mind, Golaud matter and Arkel the intellect, gives the plot deeper resonance.


Explaining what led him to write the opera Pelléas et Mélisande, Claude Debussy said: ‘I wanted music to have a freedom that she perhaps has more than any other art, as it is not restricted to a more or less exact reproduction of nature, but instead deals with the mysterious correspondences between Nature and the Imagination (...). The drama of Pelléas which, despite its dream-like atmosphere, contains far more humanity than those so-called “real-life documents”, seemed to suit my intentions admirably. In it there is an evocative language whose sensitivity could be extended into music and into the orchestral backcloth.’

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