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Pelléas et Mélisande Import

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Audio CD, Import, April 9, 1991
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$31.98 $3.83

Editorial Reviews

Among modern recordings of the opera, this one is a safe bet, assuming you want a safe version of this opera. Unlike Herbert von Karajan's oppressively string-heavy reading with the Berlin Philharmonic on EMI, this is a balanced, idiomatic account of the score, given a special luster by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra's coloristic instincts and the warm recording acoustic at St. Eustache Church. Conductor Charles Dutoit has a fine instinctive feel for Debussy in general and this score in particular. The singers in the title roles--Didier Henry and Colette Alloit-Lugaz--have both come to terms with the opera's enigmatic dramaturgy. However, it's very much a symphonic rather than operatic performance, clearly a product of the recording studio rather than of the stage. Nobody completely inhabits the score, though with Debussy, even the sparkling surface is a vehicle of dramatic truth. Thus, any well-meant performance (of which this is certainly one) can never be superficial. --David Patrick Stearns

Disc: 1
1. Act One, Scene 1: Je ne pourrai plus sortir de cette foret - Gilles Cachemaille
2. Act One, Scene 1: Pourquoi pleures-tu? - Gilles Cachemaille
3. Act One, Scene 1: Je suis perdu aussi - Gilles Cachemaille
4. Act One, Scene 2: Voici ce qu'il ecrit a son Frere Pelleas - Claudine Carlson
5. Act One, Scene 2: Qu'en dites-vouus? - Claudine Carlson
6. Act One, Scene 2: Interlude - Orch Sym de Montreal/Dutoit
7. Act One, Scene 3: Il fait sombre dans les jardins - Colette Alliot-Lugaz
8. Act One, Scene 3: Hoe! Hisse Hoe! - Choeurs de I'OSM/Edwards
9. Act Two, Scene 1: Vous ne savez pas ou je vous ai menee? - Didier Henry
10. Act Two, Scene 1: C'est au bord d'une fontaine - Didier Henry
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act Three, Scene 3: Interlude - Orch Sym de Montreal/Dutoit
2. Act Three, Scene 4: Viens, nous allons nous asseoir ici - Gilles Cachemaille
3. Act Three, Scene 4: Qu'ils s'embrassent, petit pere? - Francoise Golfier
4. Act Four, Scene 1: Ou vas-tu? - Didier Henry
5. Act Four, Scene 2: Maintenant que le pere de Pelleas - Pierre Thau
6. Act Four, Scene 2: Pelleas part ce soir - Gilles Cachemaille
7. Act Four, Scene 2: Ne mettez pas ainsi votre main a la gorge - Gilles Cachemaille
8. Act Four, Scene 2: Interlude - Orch Sym de Montreal/Dutoit
9. Act Four, Scene 3: Oh! Cette pierre est lourde - Francoise Golfier
10. Act Four, Scene 4: C'est le dernier soir - Didier Henry
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 9, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Polygram Classics
  • ASIN: B0000041YA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,639 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By The Magic Christian on February 27, 2010
As I own nine recordings of this opera, and clearly have my biases as to interpretation and appropriateness of style, I have always been perplexed by the bad rap this recording elicits from listeners. I will admit to loving the Karajan/EMI, Ansermet/OLSR (Stereo), and Boulez DVD recordings; and will pay due tribute and awe to the wartime mono recording with Desormiere. I've also found the Abbado recording somewhat lacking vocally, and the orchestral playing on Jordan and Baudo recordings to be either uneven or poorly captured in the studio. THe Haitink recording, I found quite similar to the later Boulez reading in terms of subtlety and restrained tension. But this Dutoit recording I feel is a lost gem. Yes, it reads more as an orchestral work than an opera, but the singing is fresh and unaffected, and for a generation who may come to opera not through the stage, but through recording, this reading is one of the finest examples of the work. Each character reads so clearly, and when Dutoit and Montreal were on, they were sublime. Not since the Munch / BSO years has this repertoire read so beautifully, and in this recording, Dutiot and cast carry listeners across the rich landscape of Debussy / Maeterlinck's masterpiece as if in a dream. Though 'stronger' vocalists have taken various of these roles over the decades, I feel this cast comes across as a true ensemble (something lacking in the Abbado and Jordan recordings), which makes the experience all the richer. This recording resides in or out of print, depending on the year, so if you find it, I can only recommend that you not let this experience pass you by.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jt52 on December 20, 2011
Claude Debussy's only opera, "Pelleas et Melisande", is for me a confluence of art noveau, symbolism and pre-Raphaelite style. A few years before beginning work on "Pelleas", Debussy had set a major poem by Dante Rossetti , "The Blessed Damozel," a precursor to "Pelleas." The polymath Rossetti not only wrote the poem but then painted a picture depicting "The Blessed Damozel" in pre-Raphaelite style which you can see at Harvard's Fogg Museum, if you live in or visit Boston. These artistic currents blended together in "Pelleas," which takes place long ago in a magic garden, a neurasthenic princess at the center of a damned romantic triangle.

When premiered in 1903, "Pelleas" immediately attracted a coterie of admirers as well as criticism from the traditionally-minded members of the audience. Debussy's younger colleague, Maurice Ravel, attended every performance in the initial run in 1903. I understand both viewpoints. It is a difficult opera due to the lack of repetition and few obvious melodic hooks but it is also full of incredible beauty and just plain magic.

The Dutoit performance under review here is hard to evaluate. Objectively, it is a consistently good recording, nothing outstanding - the singers, orchestral interpretation and sound engineering are all good -- without any obvious flaws. Despite its consistency, I do not find the interpretation compelling and am simply not enthusiastic about it. While I think "Pelleas" is often an amazing and enthralling work, the Dutoit interpretation leaves me cold and had my mind wandering repeatedly during different listening sessions. As an alternative, I strongly recommend the beautiful Abbado-led release on DG. Note that I listened to the 2011 London re-issue.
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