Magazine article Gramophone


Magazine article Gramophone


Article excerpt

Debussy                          [DVD][BR] Pelleas et Melisande Marc Mauillon bar                  Pelleas Jenny Daviet sop                 Melisande Laurent Alvaro bass-bar             Golaud Stephen Bronk bass-bar               Arkel Emma Lyren mez                   Genevieve Julie Mathevet sop                  Yniold Stefano Olcese bass        Doctor/Shepherd 

Chorus and Orchestra of Malmo Opera / Maxime Pascal Stage director

Benjamin Lazar Video director Corentin Leconte BelAir Classiques (F)[DVD] BAC144; (F)[BR] BAC544 (178' * NTSC * 16:9 * 1080i * DTS-HD MA5.1, DD5.1 & PCM stereo * 0 * s) Recorded live at the Malmo Opera, May 2016

The challenging Malmo company from the southern tip of Sweden looked largely to France (and, intriguingly, to experience of the Baroque) for the artistic make-up of its 2016 production of Debussy's opera. Three of the main principals, conductor, stage director and design team all hail from there. The result is a fresh look at the aesthetic of the work but a frustratingly incomplete one.

The opera's Allemonde location becomes here a unit set totally invaded by the forest which in Maeterlinck's text has dominate both the characters' imaginations and become the actual setting for some scenes. Other necessary material elements--balcony, fountain and old man Arkel's throne--are suggested by modern-looking structures permanently sited among the plentiful trees, rather like an outdoor holiday camp. It's a potentially liberating alternative to the heavy Romantic look often given to the piece in performance (or the imprecise symbolism once applied by Josef Svoboda at Covent Garden) but is insufficiently used in the action to lead anywhere much.

We're in a more modern world costume-wise than Maeterlinck's original play suggests with the principals (Genevieve aside) free of habitual over-dressing. …

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