Pelléas et Mélisande (Pelléas and Mélisande) is an opera in five acts with music by Claude Debussy. The French libretto was adapted from Maurice Maeterlinck's symbolist play Pelléas et Mélisande. It was premiered at the Salle Favart in Paris by the Opéra-Comique on 30 April 1902 with Jean Périer as Pelléas and Mary Garden as Mélisande in a performance conducted by André Messager, who was instrumental in getting the Opéra-Comique to stage the work. The only opera Debussy ever completed, it is considered a landmark in 20th-century music.
The plot concerns a love triangle. Prince Golaud finds Mélisande, a mysterious young woman, lost in a forest. He marries her and brings her back to the castle of his grandfather, King Arkel of Allemonde. Here Mélisande becomes increasingly attached to Golaud’s younger half-brother Pelléas, arousing Golaud’s jealousy. Golaud goes to excessive lengths to find out the truth about Pelléas and Mélisande’s relationship, even forcing his own child, Yniold, to spy on the couple. Pelléas decides to leave the castle but arranges to meet Mélisande one last time and the two finally confess their love for one another. Golaud, who has been eavesdropping, rushes out and kills Pelléas. Mélisande dies shortly after, having given birth to a daughter, with Golaud still begging her to tell him “the truth”.
Performances & Interviews
- Debussy: Pelleas et Melisandehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sqx3n.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sqx3n.jpg2014-02-22T14:21:00.000ZChristopher Cook provides a personal recommendation from the recordings of Debussy's opera, Pelléas et Mélisande.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01sqx4y
Debussy: Pelleas et MelisandeChristopher Cook provides a personal recommendation from the recordings of Debussy's opera, Pelléas et Mélisande.
- Debussy: Pelleas et Melisandehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01vww2l.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01vww2l.jpg2012-07-15T17:02:00.000ZLouise Fryer explores music and symbolism in Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande with musicologist Richard Langham Smith and poet and French literature specialist Patrick McGuinness.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/b01kt80y
Debussy: Pelleas et MelisandeLouise Fryer explores music and symbolism in Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande with musicologist Richard Langham Smith and poet and French literature specialist Patrick McGuinness.
- Debussy: Pelléas et Melisandehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01t1y1c.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01t1y1c.jpg2014-07-11T09:47:00.000ZIn this Proms Music Guide, Suzy Klein talks about Debussy's Pelléas et Melisande.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p022mq2b
Debussy: Pelléas et MelisandeIn this Proms Music Guide, Suzy Klein talks about Debussy's Pelléas et Melisande.