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Customer Review

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars . . great performance, terrible set . . ., 16 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Pelléas et Mélisande, opera by Claude Debussy (Theater an der Wien 2009) [DVD] [NTSC] (DVD)
Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande has long been a favourite of mine.Many times I have read that it is a 'difficult' opera, and I suppose if you are accustomed to Verdi and Puccini it is certainly different. However, for me the lack of multiple arias, trilling sopranos and massed choirs is a definite plus, and the beauty with which Debussy phrases the vocal lines and captures the atmospheric reality of this reflective and moody tragedy makes it truly a great masterpiece.
No DVDs currently on release have previously tempted me but this latest 2009 production from Virgin certainly looked promising. After watching for 1/2 hr I went to bed, only just resisting the temptation to throw it in the waste bin. My whole pre-conception of how this wonderful drama should be presented had been shattered. The dark, gloomy, ivy-clad castle of my imagination had been replaced by a bare, plain, wooden structure, the gloomy and foreboding forest by a selection of pillars and poles, the cave by an upturned wooden boat, and the pool and fountain by some paving slabs. The Pre-Raphaelite style costumes of my mind had been replaced by what looked like pre-war peasant clothes.
The next day I did decide to continue to the end, and I am so pleased that I did. I feel that all the singing is superb, the acting also (Laurent Naouri as Golaud so fine I was brought to tears), and the orchestral realization and sound/picture quality are all excellent.
I cannot now wait to watch again what is a truly magnificent and emotional performance, and will try and cope with the pathetic sets.
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Location: Fort William, Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 339,214