classical music, opera, theatre

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

one interval
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

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The Budapest Festival Orchestra opera series will continue with Debussy's groundbreaking music drama that hovers on the border between dream and reality. The cast of Pelléas and Mélisande, directed by Iván Fischer, is once again made up of international stars. After the BFO's production of The Magic Flute, Swiss tenor Bernard Richter is back to sing the most important role in his repertoire. The other title role is played by world-famous soprano Patricia Petibon, described by the Guardian as an eccentric in the best sense of the word. The character of Golaud is played by Tassis Christoyannis, who is well known to the Hungarian audience.

In Debussy's opera, more emphasis is placed on symbols than on plot, and natural speech is more important than melody. The result: deeply human music, surging with individual interpretation. The work breaks with several French traditions: there is no ballet and no major choral scenes in it. There is, however, a lot of recitativo: singing speech adapted to the French language. Instead of catchy melodies, the vocal parts only move out of their monotonous rhythm when the emotion calls for it. But even at the emotional climaxes, the composer prescribes a pianissimo volume and keeps the orchestra low, creating an intimacy that is quite unusual on the operatic stage. The story is almost irrelevant, the symbols are more exciting. The forest, the motif of getting lost, the well, the ring, the hair and the light are just some of the mysterious symbols of the piece. Debussy's opera is rarely staged because of the many locations and the complexity of the parts. In addition to the three stars, Petibon, Richter and Christoyannis, the French bass Nicolas Testé (described by the Montreal Gazette as "the excellent and tragic King Arkel"), the dark-toned Yvonne Naef (returning after Fischer's Falstaff), and Peter Harvey (compared to the voice of God by the eminent journalist Melanie Eskenazi) will appear.

The performance is a joint production of the Iván Fischer Opera Company, Müpa Budapest, the Vicenza Opera Festival and the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi.

Presented by: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Müpa Budapest
  • Iván Fischer
  • Pelléas
    Bernard Richter
  • Mélisande
    Patricia Petibon
  • Golaud
    Tassis Christoyannis
  • Arkel
    Nicolas Testé
  • Geneviève
    Yvonne Naef
  • Doctor / Shepherd
    Peter Harvey
  • Little Yniold
    Oliver Michael
  • Artists of the Budapest Festival Orchestra
  • costumes
    Anna Biagiotti
  • set design
    Andrea Tocchio
  • lighting
    Tamás Bányai
  • technical director
    Róbert Zentai
  • stage manager
    Wendy Griffin-Reid
  • director
    Iván Fischer, Marco Gandini

Parking information

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