I went to Pelleas last night with Gardiner.
I thought the conducting had moments of inspiration in Act 3 but on the whole was pretty lackluster. Same for the singing except for John Tomlinson (Arkel). Melisande was OK but not a great singer IMO (I've never seen what the fuss is about with Karen Vourc'h). Same for Golaud (Laurent Naouri.) Phillip Addis as Pelleas was I thought just very poor. Weak voice and no interpretive insights as far as I can see. They had a girl for Yniold, which was yet another disappointment for me.
In a way Tomlinson's presence made the experience worse -- it reminded you of what good singing is like!
Semi staged but absolutely no interesting direction (unlike Gardiner's extraordinary video of the opera from Lyon. That's one of my favourite recordings of it and one of the reasons why I went to the prom.)
The audience was bad too, with people whispering and eating and watch alarms ringing, and prommers leaving in the middle of scenes. I'd say it was less than 3/4 full. There were whole banks of empty seats at the very top.
So altogether not a very inspiring start to this year's season. But what a marvelous opera this is. The quality of the music shone through a performance which was, apart from Tomlinson, workmanlike at best. So I was very glad to have gone.
But not glad enough to go back inside after the interval -- maybe things warmed up for Acts 4 and 5.
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