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Opera "Pelleas et Melisande" opera in five acts
World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - established 1783

Schedule for "Pelleas et Melisande" opera in five acts 2022

Composer: Claude Debussy
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Musical Preparation: Natalia Mordashova
Musical Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Stage Director: Daniel Kramer

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra

Opera in 5 acts

Performed in French with synchronised Russian supertitles

World premiere: 30 April 1902, Opera Comique, Paris
Premiere in Russia: 19 October 1915 Musical Drama Theatre, Petrograd
Premiere of this production: 13 April 2012 , Mariinsky Theatre

Music by Claude Debussy
Libretto by the composer; abridgement of the play by Maurice Maeterlinck

Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Stage Director: Daniel Kramer
Set Designer: Giles Cadle
Costume Designer: Michael Crass
Assistant Stage Director and Choreographer: Elaine Tyler-Hall
Lighting Designer: Peter Mumford
Musical Preparation: Natalia Mordashova
French Language Coach: Xenia Klimenko

To mark one hundred and fifty years since the birth of Debussy, the Mariinsky Theatre is paying tribute to the composer with a production of his only complete opera. Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande is being staged in St Petersburg for the first time in almost a century and for the first time ever at the Mariinsky Theatre.
Debussy’s attention was drawn by Maeterlinck’s play Pelleas et Melisande, staged in 1893. In it he saw something he had been searching for in vain for years – the text for an opera. Maeterlinck’s play perfectly matched his demands of an opera libretto and it was set to music by the composer with almost no changes.
The premiere of the opera Pelleas et Melisande took place in Paris on 30 April 1902 and brought the composer public acclaim, while it proved an historic event in French music that heralded the start of the 20th century.
The opera began to be staged in countries throughout Europe and it reached New York across the Atlantic as well as Russia too: in 1915 it was staged by the Petrograd Musical Drama Theatre. The premiere was hailed as a watershed in the history of Russian music, and the “charm of this music” was proclaimed unanimously.
The opera remained in the repertoire for two years. It was then only remembered at the close of the 20th century: in 1999 and 2010 it was performed at the Great Hall of the St Petersburg Philharmonic.
The start of 2012 – one and a half centuries since Debussy’s birth – was marked with a concert performance of the opera at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre prior to this new production.
The production of the opera is being staged by theatre director Daniel Kramer. The thirty-five year-old American who lives in London has already staged the opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle – apropos also after Maeterlinck – at the Mariinsky Theatre.
The production team includes Giles Cadle (Set Designer), Michael Krass (Costume Designer), Elaine Tyler-Hall (Assistant Stage Director and Choreographer) and Peter Mumford (Lighting Designer).

Act I 
A dark forest in a distant land. A young woman flees her past. Prince Golaud, hunting a trail of blood, discovers the  runaway princess, Melisande, and is taken by her beauty and her royal blood. Golaud takes Melisande out of the  forest.
Back home, on the  depleted island of Allemonde, Genevieve pleads with King Arkel to allow her son, Prince Golaud, to return home with his new wife, Melisande. Arkel laments Golaud’s failure to wed anothe r whose union would have ended the  war that cripples his nation. But in his old age and encroaching blindness, Arkel leaves the  decision to destiny and grants permission for Golaud to return home. Pelleas, the  bastard child of Genevieve, enters and begs King Arkel to let him leave the  island to visit a dying friend. Arkel refuses, reminding Pelleas that his presence is needed at home to prepare for his brothe r’s return and to care for his own dying fathe r upstairs. The lamps are lit for Golaud’s return.
On a cliff atop the  island, Genevieve shows Melisande the  unending darkened forests of Allemonde which she has endured for forty years and the  glistening sea far beyond. Pelleas joins the m. Pelleas and Melisande stare out in excitement as the  boat which brought Melisande ushers away some lucky few. Genevieve asks Pelleas to escort Melisande home. Pelleas informs Melisande that he is leaving tomorrow.

Act II 
Deep in the  forest, Pelleas leads Melisande to an old well which hithe rto cured the  blind – until King Arkel himself began to go blind. Melisande basks in the  too little seen sunlight. Melisande plays a dangerous game of catch with her wedding ring over the  bottomless well and drops the  ring into the  well at the  ominous stroke of noon. Pelleas urges Melisande to tell Golaud the  truth.
Golaud storms about his bedroom. While hunting, precisely at the  stroke of noon, he was tossed from his horse. Melisande asks Golaud to take her away from the  island; she senses something awful that she cannot explain. Golaud, taking her hands to comfort her, notices the  wedding ring is missing. Melisande lies and says that she lost it in a cave by the  sea. Golaud explodes and forces Melisande to go hunting for it immediately – with Pelleas.
At the  mouth of the  cave, Pelleas and Melisande stand in terror. Pelleas forces Melisande to enter so she can lie truthfully to Golaud about the  place where she “lost” the  ring. The moon emerges and reveals three beggars sleeping in the  cave. Melisande is terrified and runs home.

Act III 
Melisande, now locked in her tower, contemplates her own escape. Pelleas interrupts and again tells Melisande that he is leaving tomorrow. Melisande opens herself to Pelleas as best she can; Pelleas binds himself in Melisande’s metaphoric love. Golaud discovers the  two and chides the m both for playing like children.
Golaud takes Pelleas on a journey to smell the  stench of death up-close.
Released from Golaud’s threatening grip, Pelleas basks in the  sunlight. Golaud tells Pelleas that Melisande is now pregnant and that he must the refore keep a subtle distance – so as not to upset her. Pelleas defies his half-brothe r’s wishes and goes to Melisande in her tower.
Beneath her window, Golaud questions his son, Yniold, about Pelleas and Melisande’s behaviour. But Yniold does not tell his fathe r what he wants to hear. A light in the  tower turns on and Golaud lifts Yniold high in the  air to spy on Pelleas and Melisande. Yniold sees Pelleas and Melisande sitting, staring into the  light.

Act IV
King Arkel throws a party to celebrate the  recovery of Pelleas’ sick fathe r and the  coming birth of Golaud and Melisande’s baby. Hope is returning to Allemonde. During the  party, Pelleas finds Melisande in anothe r room and plans a last secret meeting at the  well before his hopeful departure tomorrow.
Arkel enters and showers Melisande with gifts of love for the  arrival of her baby. Golaud enters, blood on his forehead, and confirms Pelleas’ departure the  next day. Melisande tries to care for Golaud but he explodes and accuses Melisande of infidelity, throwing her to the  ground and dragging her about. Arkel rises to control Golaud and to protect Melisande. Arkel tries to comfort Melisande. Yniold tries to free his toy which is wedged between two rocks. He tries to enlist Melisande’s help; but she is distracted by her own grief and guilt. She plays a game with Yniold who sees a flock of sheep being led to the  slaughter. Yniold runs off in terror.
Pelleas prepares for his last meeting at the  well with Melisande. Melisande arrives, scared to enter the  darkness with Pelleas. But once she does, the y declare the ir love for one anothe r. The gates of the  palace close early. Golaud appears. The lovers kiss. Golaud murders his half-brothe r, Pelleas. Melisande flees for her life.

Act V
The family gathe rs in Melisande’s room as she fights for her life. She awakes with no recollection of the  murder or of her premature baby’s birth. Golaud asks to be alone with Melisande and instantly obsesses over the  true nature of her love for Pelleas. Arkel re-enters to protect Melisande.
Melisande is introduced to her baby girl, says “I pity her” and quietly dies. Arkel leads the  family out of the  room. Now it is her daughter’s turn.
Daniel Kramer

Schedule for "Pelleas et Melisande" opera in five acts 2022

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