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Prom 5: Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande

Glyndebourne Festival Opera and LPO, conducted by Robin Ticciati, with Christina Gansch, John Chest and Christopher Purves perform Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.

Live at BBC Proms: Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the LPO conducted by Robin Ticciati, with Christina Gansch, John Chest and Christopher Purves in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande

Live from the Royal Albert Hall, London
Presented by Martin Handley

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Acts 1 - 3

c.8.20pm
Interval: Proms Plus
Musicologist Richard Langham Smith and specialist in 19th century French music and poetry Helen Abbott introduce Pélleas et Mélisande, Debussy's only opera

c.8.40pm
Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Acts 4 - 5

Christina Gansch (Mélisande)
John Chest (Pelléas)
Christopher Purves (Golaud)
Brindley Sherratt (Arkel)
Karen Cargill (Geneviève)
Chloé Briot (Yniold)
Glyndebourne Festival Opera
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Robin Ticciati (conductor)

Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande is an operatic fairy tale played out in the shadowy half-light of the mysterious kingdom of Allemonde. Love, desire, power and violence permeate this luminous score - arguably one of the greatest of the 20th century.

This semi-staged performance of Glyndebourne's new production, marking the centenary of the composer's death, is conducted by the company's Music Director Robin Ticciati, with Christopher Purves as the obsessive Golaud and former Kathleen Ferrier Award-winner Christina Gansch as his beloved Mélisande.

Synopsis

Act 1
Scene 1: A forest. Golaud, a prince who has become lost while hunting, finds the weeping Melisande sitting by a fountain, into which she has dropped her crown.
Scene 2: A room in the castle. Golaud's mother, Genevieve, is reading a letter from Golaud to her other son, Pelleas. In it, Golaud explains he has married Melisande. Pelleas wishes to visit his friend Marcellus, who is dying, but his grandfather, the nearly blind Arkel, tells him that he must wait for his brother Golaud to return.
Scene 3: Outside the castle. Genevieve, Pelleas and Melisande are gazing out to sea as the boat that has carried Golaud and Melisande to the castle disappears over the horizon. A storm is approaching.

Act 2
Scene 1: By a well. Pelleas has brought Melisande to a well that is reputed to restore sight to the blind. Melisande loses her wedding ring in the well.
Scene 2: A room in the castle. Golaud is recovering after being thrown by his horse at the 12th stroke of midday (the very time Melisande lost her ring in the well). Melisande wants to leave the castle. She tells her husband that she lost her wedding ring in a cave by the sea.
Scene 3: By a cave. Pelleas and Melisande are hunting for the ring in the place where she told Golaud she lost it. When the moon shines into the cave, they see three old men asleep. Melisande is terrified.

Act 3
Scene 1: Below a castle tower. Golaud catches Melisande lowering her hair from her window to Pelleas.
Scene 2: The castle dungeons. Golaud takes his younger brother to the dungeons deep below the castle.
Scene 3: A terrace. Golaud orders Pelleas to stay away from Melisande.
Scene 4: In front of the castle. Golaud questions Yniold, his son from his first marriage, about Pelleas and Melisande. The boy is forced to spy on them through a window.

Act 4
Scene 1: A room in the castle. Pelleas is to leave the castle. He asks Melisande
to meet him one last time at the fountain before he departs. Arkel hopes that things may be different from now on. Golaud admonishes Melisande and pulls her to the ground by her hair.
Scene 2: A well in the estate. Yniold cannot rescue his ball from under a rock. He hears a flock of sheep crying to be taken home. Pelleas and Melisande exchange a kiss and admit their love for each other. Golaud is hiding behind a tree and attacks his brother. Pelleas is mortally wounded and Melisande flees.

ACT 5
A room in the castle. Melisande is dying. Golaud demands to know the truth about her and Pelleas, ignoring the daughter she has just borne him. The room fills with serving-women. Melisande dies and Arkel leaves with the child and Golaud.

4 hours

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