Debussy : Pelléas et Mélisande [VOD]


Debussy : Pelléas et Mélisande

This new Pelléas et Mélisande from the Opernhaus Zürich should be remembered as one of Dmitri Tcherniakov’s most innovative production. Forget about the fountains, the caverns, the forest, the castles and the towers : here, the density of Maurice Maeterlinck’s and Claude Debussy’s symbolism becomes the starting point of an analytical journey into the human mind : it is now the psychoanalyst, ‘‘doctor’’ Golaud, who has to uncover the secrets of Melisande, an unfortunate and traumatized creature he brings home, and whose silence and puzzling attitude eventually bring him on the verge of insanity.

But this production is also the occasion for a reunion between Dmitri Tcherniakov and French conductor Alain Altinoglu, after the tremendous success of the Tchaikovsky dyptich Iolanta / The Nutcracker – arguably one of the most successful titles of the Bel Air Classiques catalogue. Their artistic complicity is intact : the precise, analytical but also nuanced and poetic baton of Altinoglu proves to be the best possible response to Tcherniakov’s subtle exploration of the human psychology. Corinne Winters, as Melisande, Jacques Imbrailo, as Pelléas, and especially Kyle Ketelsen, as Golaud, embody with an incandescent realism these characters plagued by a form of evil and violence that we will never quite understand.


Debussy : Pelléas et Mélisande [VOD]

Opera in five acts (1902)

Music : Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Libretto : Claude Debussy after the eponymous play by Maurice Maeterlinck

Arkel Brindley Sherratt
Pelléas Jacques Imbrailo
Golaud Kyle Ketelsen
Yniold Damien Göritz
A doctor Charles Dekeyser
Mélisande Corinne Winters
Geneviève Yvonne Naef
Pelléas’s father Reinhard Mayr

Philharmonia Zürich
Zusatzchor der Oper Zürich
Sopralti Der Oper Zürich

Conducted by : Alain Altinoglu

Stage director : Dmitri Tcherniakov

Costumes : Elena Zaytseva
Lighting design : Gleb Filshtinsky
Video : Tieni Burkhalter
Chorus master : Jürg Hämmerli
Dramaturgy : Beate Breidenbach

Image gallery

157 – Pelléas


‘‘It certainly needs an inventive production to bring it to life, and a lively conductor to energise the orchestra, as Dmitri Tcherniakov and Alain Altinoglu both did here in Zurich.’’

‘‘For those adventuresome souls open to nontraditional productions that are ultimately respectful of the opera being staged, I recommend Tcherniakov’s production and the Zurich Opera’s cast’’

‘‘Director Dmitri Tcherniakov’s idea for this opera was just brilliant. There was no forest and no old castle. Tcherniakov sets the action in a modern villa. Golaud is no prince but is instead a psychotherapist here, who takes his female patient (Mélisande) home for treatment. She resembles a punk, dressed in black with black hair. But during the opera you recognize that Mélisande is just a naïve, traumatized girl that has been abused by everybody. The simplicity of the stage design is exactly what makes it so that you focus on the people and their psyches. You get insight into the life of a wellrespected family, one that is not as well and harmonious as it seems from outside. Family members are beaten (Golaud’s son Yniold), raped (Mélisande ) and even killed (Pelleas). Tcherniakov manages to make the story really believable, so much so that it occupied the mind of a young man like me for hours afterwards. Bravo for this fantastic version of Pelléas et Mélisande.’’
PLAYS TO SEE – ✴✴✴✴✴