Cher Public

Broadcast: Pelléas et Mélisande

Pulthunk Jordan de Souza leads a new production of Debussy’s opera directed by Barrie Kosky, live from the Komische Oper Berlin, starting at noon EDT. (Player after jump.)  

  • La Cieca
  • Sanford Schimel

    He may be a hunk, but that jacket and shirt do not go together.

  • Jordan is a very sweet guy and extremely talented. His career is taking off rapidly.

    • Camille

      He is also very good and you may tell him he has my stamp of approval.

  • leoniceno

    I’m glad they’ve switched to using YouTube for the broadcasts. Much more stable, and it includes Chromecast and full mobile compatibility.

    By the by, I watched “Acis and Galatea” on the service last night: I thought it was a brilliant production, and some very nice Handel singing.

  • Jm35

    A description of the production:

    “This production by Barrie Kosky conjures up the psychogram of a moribund, late-bourgeois society which has nothing with which to counter a world out of balance other than the solace of a finely chiselled melancholy.”

    A psychogram of moribund, late-bourgeois finely chiselled melancholy! Sounds like a rip-roaring good time.

    • Camille

      Sounds like home to me.

  • La Cieca

    Whoa, when the turntable and the moving walkway go in opposite directions, that’s REALLY disorienting.

  • Camille

    Since it is Berlin are they using a set from “Cabaret”? Will Liza suddenly appear as Yniold?

    Musical value is good this far. Arkel’s sound is familiar to me or at least seems so. I take it that Pelléas and Marcellus are more than just friends. Pleasantly surprised to hear such good singing as one never. knows. Also happy that sou-titrea are peovides as I can’t find my libretto.

    I can never forget that Sellars production and how chilling it was and the hreat Golaud of Sir Willard White.

    • QuantoPainyFakor

      I’ll watch it later. Are they using the long or the short interludes?

      • Camille

        I do like this conductor if that is of any interest or import to you but I am not that familiar with the score to know long from short interludes.

  • La Cieca

    “Yes, I think I can see the bottom.”

  • Camille

    OMG what is Arkel doing to her?

  • Camille

    Ewwww--Arkel is a dirty old man!!! Yucky

  • Camille

    I remember this scene when the Rattles were at the Met and all the worried looks from the pit to the stage.

  • Camille

    For SOME reason my thoughts have turned to Miss Mary Garden. What I wonder is what it was about her that Debussy found to be the perfect Mélisande, right away, and what it was she transmitted which made her so unique in this role. I think it may well have to do with her ability to “speak”, albeit with her Scots-American twang. Mélisande requires that--speech.

  • Camille

    What is Golaud toing to do now? Strangle his own daughter rather than allow her to live.

    There were some things I liked and others I didn’t but at least the music was nicely conducted and the singers were all wonderfully vibrato free, alert to the text, and made believable their sorry plight.

    Bravo to Yniold, too. Difficult part and his intonation was better than most.

    • QuantoPainyFakor

      So happy to see that they restored the pages with the “Sont-ils prè du lit?” section. Not sure why the first scene has a curtain evoking the MET and the shape of Allemonde seems to be based on the architecture of the Opéra Bastille. Having a real boy as Yniold is a virtue.

      • Camille

        Then, it pleased you, musically speaking? I was quite impressed at the level they managed to achieve, and thank you for filling me in on this, maestro.

        • QuantoPainyFakor

          Pélleas is one of my very favorite operas Camille. As you know, well-played as it was, the nuances of impressionism are not like second nature for the fingers and lips of that orchestra. But it was only the première, so everyone will probably be more nuanced in the subsequent performances and as the music becomes a real part of them, not just notes on the page. I missed hearing an appreciation of the frequent repetitions of Debussy two-measure-period constructions and the bowings were not totally in the French style. But they were performing the opera for other values. My earliest memories of this music in the theater stem from having attended the Ansermet performances at the old MET. It’s always fascinating how well Puccini understood Pélleas.

          • Camille

            I am so happy that it gave you some pleasure and I cannot imagine how it was like to hear Maestro Ansermet play this score. That was a great fortune for you.

            As it has increasingly grown on me over the years, and since I have you here at the moment, is there anyone one or two recordings you particularly suggest as the most truly representative of the style? It would be nice to know as there are many. I bought one with Levine conducting from 1983, (Van Dam and Pilou) a couple years back and my husband has that old EMI one with von Stade, I think? Come to tjink of it there must be one with Ansermet.

            Yes, Puccini did seem to really admire and grasp a great deal of the sense of what he did and I’ve always admired that about him. In today’s performance I could not catch the usual Parsifal quotes I hear.

            Tomorrow night is another Norma so I must prepare. Hoping against hope for some kind of miracle from the new Norma.

            • QuantoPainyFakor

              While the sound of the older French recordings is not comparable to the more recent readings, the older the recording the closer one is to the players whose teachers played in the orchestra for the Pélleas premiere and early performances. That is also true of the chefs du chant who prepared the singers. Then there’s the tenor -- baritone Pélleas question in terms of which you prefer. I’d try to listen to all of them. I still have the set of excerpts on 78’s even though I have not played them for decades. There’s also Maggie Teyte’s interesting sequence of excerpts from her Town Hall recital, but I could not find it for you on Youtube



            • Camille

              Thank you so very much.

              Dame Maggie is my madeleine and gateway to Debussy’s world, for I had a recording of her, singing ‘”Beau soir”, which I wore out as a girl. It made an indelible impression on me and I have played it in my memory many times over now, especially at l’heure bleue.

              I will take your advices and am grateful for them.

            • QuantoPainyFakor

              I hope you were able to view the two Lefébure videos in my comment above. She demonstrates so much about the art of transmitting extra-musical elements in music.

            • Camille

              No time yet but it is bookmarked. I always murdered Debussy when I tried to play him and have enough respect to keep my mitts off the keys. I will, though, try to absorb some of what she says and I am most grateful for your assistance. It’s a funny thing to want to know more about this work and world at this late a stage in the game but my curiosity is endless. “Son donna, e son curiosa”. un abbraccio forte !

            • QuantoPainyFakor

              No, chérie, opera is for life-long learning!

            • In France the so-called “référence” is the Désormière version recorded in 1941 but there is also this one, which came out in 2013:

              Pelléas: Camille Maurane
              Mélisande: Suzanne Danco
              Golaud: Bertrand Etcheverry
              Geneviève: Oda Slobodskaya
              Arkel: André Vessières
              Yniold: Marjorie Westbury
              Le Berger / Le Médecin: Ernest Frank

              BBC Chorus

              Philharmonia Orchestra
              Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht

            • Camille

              Funny, but those are exactly the ones I’d narrowed down from those mentioned on the Wikipedia page. It helps that Ansermet met and discussed the work with Debussy. Merci mille fois.

            • fletcher

              There’s also a very good Fournet recording, if you can find it, with Maurane, Micheau, Michel Roux, Depraz, and Gorr that’s quite dramatic without being unidiomatic (to my ears, anyway). Some people really like the second Ansermet record with George London. The Cluytens with de los Angeles is weirdly inert, which is too bad.

            • By the way, believe it or not Warlikowski directed Pelléas this summer at the Ruhr Triennale in the same vast old factory as used for Moses und Aron.

              I hope you can access this:

            • Camille

              Aha! The Cluytens I listened to a long long time ago, because of my great affection for de los Àngeles, and something did not click, for me, and didn’t know why. As I generally like Fournet, though, and there’s is the Roaring’ Gorr, I’ll give it another spin. I think best to go back and try to explore some very early ones, to actually connect with that world in whatsoever fashion one still may. Merci, fletcher mon bel ami.

            • Carl Harris

              I listened to every “Pelleas” I could get my hands on a few years ago and these were the two standouts for me. The Désormière recording is wonderful. Not that it’s really relevant, but have any two singers looked their parts more than Jacques Jansen and Irene Joachim? But from a purely vocal standpoint Camille Maurane and Suzanne Danco were, to my ears, even better.
              Does anyone know if Maurane ever sang in a performance with Gerard Souzay as his brother Golaud? That would have been something.

  • Nell TuoCuor

    So I think I got the gist of Barry’s curtain speech, but can anyone fill in details?

  • QuantoPainyFakor

    As of 5:44 PM the video of this new Pélleas only has 1,361 views. That’s a surprisingly poor number for this great new international initiative of Opera Vision. It will be interesting to see how the total increases over the next few days.

  • Donna Annina

    We were on the road and missed this so I hope to watch it later. I did read the interview with Kosky and de Souza, whose ideas about this enigmatic work are virtually identical to those expressed by Louis Langree, who conducts Pelleas this weekend with the Cincinnati Symphony. James Darrah is doing the staging and I hope he does a better job than he did with the last two Pelleas outings.with the CSO (Schoenberg’s tone poem and Faure’s complete incidental music for the play).

    • Camille

      Please do us rhe favor, Donn’Anna, of reporting about this performance, would you? I’m glad it has happened so soon after we had a xonvwrsation about it so I win’t forget it. As this is a specialty of Mo. Langée’s, it would be very interesting.

      Today I listened to Levine’s and all I heard waa Parsifal lite.