The encounter between Claude Debussy’s music and the text of the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck is a prime example of the perfect integration of word and music. Debussy found in Maeterlinck’s play Pelléas et Mélisande (1892) the inspiration he had long sought in vain and the pattern for his first and final completed opera, based on fleeting, passing, hard to explain moments, moods and motifs that indirectly – yet all the more profoundly – tell of the human’s inner feelings and his fatal adherence with nature, the world that surrounds him, creation, or whatever we may choose to call it. Maeterlinck’s fairy-tale myth depicts the ancient story of Prince Golaud, who finds the mysterious girl Mélisande in the forest and subsequently marries her. Yet Mélisande is increasingly attracted to Golaud’s brother Pelléas. Golaud quests after the “truth” of what is really going on between his wife and brother, and so we too seek the meaning of this eerie tale – in the not always explicable behaviour of its protagonists, surrounded by a web of ambiguous and, at the same time, familiar symbols of the water spring, ring, light and dark, long hair, chiming clocks, a runaway horse, etc…
Pelléas et Mélisande is Debussy’s paramount work, as well as a milestone in the history of opera, which had an essential impact on a number of 20th-century composers. We are presenting the new production in the year marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of both Debussy and Maeterlinck.
Chorus and Orchestra of the National Theatre.
The opera is staged in French original version and czech and english surtitles are used in the performance.
Photo: Hana Smejkalová
Duration of the performance: 3 hours, 1 intermission