This is a wonderful-wonderful-wonderful musical experience. Haitink is at his supreme delicate best.The very best Anne Sophie Von Otter,Wolfgang Holzmair. Debussy broke all the rules of traditional opera settings and format when he wrote this. It took me some time to familiarise myslf with the structure of Palléas and Méllisande3-4 listens but then..................wow! A must for adventurous opera lovers.
Reviews about this most atmosheric and intangible of operas seem to be quite partisan, with very opposing stances being taken. Having read a couple of raves over this one, I took the plunge, Despite having read a couple that complained of audience noise. It is a beautiful, idiomatic performance with the right kind of frisson coming from the fact that there was a (concert) audience. However, whilst you will hear a (very) few coughs, the audience is amazing quiet and seemed to be rapt. Little point in singling out the soloists, they are all superb, but the Golaud (Naouri) is a revelation - none of the usual barking misery, but a very moving, credible and heart-breaking portrayal. Anne-Sophie von Otter is more mature sounding than most as Melisande, but for me this added a more believable edge to the character - she has to have the potential to be consorting with both Pelleas and Golaud (as vague as the libretto is on these points...). Haitink and his orchestra support wonderfully and never intrude - just what Debussy wanted. This is one beautiful performance of a magical piece.
Wonderful! This is a subtle performance! I normally fear live recordings lest we have coughs and splutters enshrined along with the music and singing. However, I am happy to report the audience are largely silent!