This is my only experience with this opera, but I must say I've watched it probably 8 times so far. The music, the singing, the acting, the staging (modern but effective), the filming, directing, conducting... all are very capable of delivering delight to the eyes and the ears. As this is my only real encounter with Debussy (I'm only 20, and its a big world out there) I felt instantly obsorbed by his clever use of motifs and by the inticing dramatic anti-drama, in the sence that whenever woe and destruction should in theory take place, innocence, adorableness and understanding sweeps over the orchestra. This is one of the greatest operas ever made (I'm quite an opera-lover).
But onto more pressing issues I'm sure: the cast. - Christiane Oelze as Melisande, there are no other words for it, is insanely sexy. Her voice, although it isn't large by any means, is perhaps one of the sweetest I've ever heard, and her physique and acting back up that statement to make a delicate creature indeed.
Richard Croft - a hugely romantic and very french-style performer. Highly expressive and very individual vocally. At first I thought he looked a bit odd, but I soon fell in love with him. Jake Arditti as Yniold - fantastic. Generally speaking - top notch. The conduting is paced delightfully, very carefully proportioned.
Now for the stageing. I've never seen anything quite like it. It's new, abstract, stylized and modern, yet at the same time it is traditional and gives a sense of the ages. In my opinion it combines the best of both worlds and leaves out that which you'd rather not have from both worlds too. The things that I personally found the most interesting was how with mere changes in lighting and very few minor alterations entirely new interpretations of the stage are made even though the stage setting (on an considerable scale) never changes (and doesn't need to). In every scene you'd think you're looking at an entirely different world when you're not. It really is quite a magical setting and the way in which the singers/actors take advantages of each individual spot of the stage for the sake of reinterpretting it is quite astonishing. Melisande hanging from the giant light with her hair on display is a magical moment.
In conclusion... simply magical!