Pelléas et Mélisande

News and reviews




May 2007

Pelléas et Mélisande, Royal Opera, Covent Garden

"The finest singing of the evening came from Gerald Finley as Golaud, who managed to put across all the inner torment and jealousy of the character by voice alone, which was no mean feat. Angelika Kirchschlager sang sensuously as Melisande but Simon Keenlyside sounded out of sorts as Pelleas – but then can you blame him? Young George Longworth was the best Yniold I've ever seen, and there was reliable support from the veteran bass Robert Lloyd as Arkel. The audience cheered the singers and conductor to the rafters, and booed the production team. A discerning audience if ever I heard one."--Keith McDonnell,, reviewing May 11 performance


"The serious disappointment of the production is considerably lessened by a nearly exemplary musical performance. The Royal Opera could not have fielded a more perfect cast for these performances. Angelika Kirchschlager is a delicate but passionate Mélisande; Gerald Finley an outstanding Golaud, portraying the character’s bewilderment at the unfolding events; and Simon Keenlyside both heroic and lyrical as Pélleas, his impeccable French reminding us too of his exceptional linguistic skills.

* * *

"Occasionally, more pace from Simon Rattle in the pit might have helped to overcome the impossible tediousness of the production, but otherwise this was the most sensitively and imaginatively conducted production of the current Covent Garden season. To bring such beauty out of the orchestra whilst allowing the singers to be heard easily is no mean feat, and Rattle’s careful attention both to Debussy’s word-setting and the more existential elements of the score was a wonder to behold."

--Dominic McHugh,


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