Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Debussy - Pelleas et Melisande / Isabel Rey Rodney Gilfry Michael Volle Laszlo Polgar Cornelia Kallisch Franz Welser-Most Zurich Opera|
Actors: Claude Debussy, Guido Goetzen, Eva Liebau, Michael Volle, Welser-Most
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A Puzzling and Ultimately Infuriating Production
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 05/20/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Leaving aside the fact that the musical aspects of this Zurich Opera production of Pelléas et Mélisande are more than acceptable, the stage action and setting are so off-putting as to make this an untenable proposition.
First a word about the music: Franz Welser-Most leads a knowing performance, getting lovely subtlety from both orchestra and singers. Pelléas is the marvelous Rodney Gilfry, Mélisande the equally effective Isabel Rey. Laszlo Polgar is a particularly good Arkel, Michael Volle only slightly less good as Golaud. Cornelia Kallisch is fine as Geneviève.
But the mise en scene is, uh, stupid, if you'll pardon my saying so. First, there are three-quarter-sized manikins that are doubles of the major characters, and the main characters, when addressing each other, most often address the manikins rather than the singer of the part. I suppose this is intended to convey some sort of psychological isolation, but frankly it comes across as pretentious and unconvincing. The characters often carry their manikin, or drag it around. From time to time the characters are in wheelchairs, or their manikins are; again, presumably this indicates the characters are all handicapped or flawed in some way. Couldn't we just let Maeterlinck's words tell us that? The setting seems to be a land of eternal snow -- psychological coldness, get it? -- and unvarying shades of white, gray, ugly green. Why?
This is an example of Regietheater gone mad. When there are other DVDs of Pelleas out there, and with equally good singers and orchestras, and in traditional or at least less bizarre productions, I'd strongly suggest you pass this one by.
J. Diamond | 10/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not a musicologist over here, just a fan of Debussy's opera. Having seen & heard the other 3 DVD versions available of Pelleas (Gardiner, Boulez & Andrew Davis) -- they all have their merits, but none succeed as a recorded document of an excellent live performance as well as this Welser-Most version from Zurich. As an audio performance, this Pelleas rates with the best I have ever seen or heard in the house or on CD.
Welser-Most gets the better singing out of the best cast. His conducting may be a matter of taste for many of you, but I personally like it very, very much. Isabel Rey, Michael Volle, Rodney Gilfry, Cornelia Kallisch & especially Laszlo Polgar are vocally perfect for their roles and all give first-rate, musicianly performances.
Whether you like or do not like the staging and the sets again is a matter of taste. I prefer it to all the others I have ever seen -- like Debussy's music, this staging reveals much more of the subconscious motivations of the characters as they grapple with desire and destiny. The other Pelleas DVD stagings seem static and uninteresting compared to this one.