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   Pelleas Et Melisande



Год издания : 1970/1991

Компания звукозаписи : Sony

Время звучания : 2:34:29

К-во CD : 3

Код CD : debussy sony sm3k 47265 (3CD)

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CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Classics (Opera)      

Pelleas et Melisande, opera in 5 acts, L. 88 (Пеллеас и Мелизанда)

Синопсис (mymb-ru)

О произведении

Libretto (fr)(rtf)

Libretto (fr)

Lyrical drama in five acts

Royal Opera Chorus, chorus master - Douglas Robinson

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden - conductor, Pierre Boulez

Pelleas - George Shirley

Melisande - Elisabeth Soderstrom

Golaud - Donald McIntyre

Arkel - David Ward

Genevieve - Yvonne Minton

Yniold - Anthony Britten

============ from the cover ==========

Of the numerous operatic projects which Debussy broached, only one - Pelleas et Melisande, to a libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck - was completed and performed. He had begun to write his first opera, Rodrigue et Chimene, in 1890. Based on a libretto by Catulle Mendes, it survives only in the form of sketches for the first and third acts, together with a short score for piano and voice for the second act. The somewhat conventional libretto is written in an occasionally questionable style, which no doubt explains why Debussy, having agreect for financial reasons to set it to music, abandoned it in 1892, shortly before discovering Pelleas et Melisande, even though only the orchestration remained to be completed.

In the course of a conversation in 1889 with his old teacher of composition, Ernest Guiraud, the latter asked what sort of a poet would furnish him with the libretto of his dreams, to which Debussy replied: "One who only hints at what is to be said. The ideal would be two associated dreams. No place, nor time. No big scene. No compulsion on the musician, who must complete and give body to the work of the poet. My idea is of a short libretto with mobile scenes. I have no use at all for the three unities. A variety of scenes in regard to place and character. No discussion or arguments between the characters whom I see at the mercy of life or destiny." Here is an almost prophetic anticipation of Maeterlinck's play. In 1891 Debussy had in fact already planned to write an opera based on Maeterlinck's 1889 stage play, La Princesse Maleine, but was obliged to abandon the project, since Maeterlinck had already promised the text to Vincent d'lndy (who, in the event, did not set it).

Although Debussy attended the first performance of Maeterlinck's play at the Theatre des Bouffes-Parisiens on May 17, 1893, it seems to have been his prior reading of the text which captured his imagination, as he himself confirmed in a note dated April 1902: "My knowledge of Pelleas dates from 1893 [...] In spite of the enthusiasm of my initial reading and perhaps also the secret thought of a possible musical setting, I did not begin to think seriously about it until the end of that year (1893)". In fact, Debussy had already started work on the score in September 1893, having first secured Maeterlinck's permission in August 1893, which he did through the intermediary of the poet Henri de Regnier.

Debussy began to write the opera not at the beginning but with the love duet for Pelleas and Melisande in Act IV, Scene 4. His reason for proceeding in this way was no doubt to see if the play could be turned into an opera. Once the initial enthusiasm had passed, Debussy seems to have grown dissatisfied with what he had written, as he told Ernest Chausson in a letter of October 2, 1893: "It was like the duet by M- So-and-so, or nobody in particular, and worst of all the ghost of old Klingsor, alias R. Wagner, kept appearing in the corner of a bar, so I've torn the whole thing up. I've started again and am trying to find a recipe for producing more characteristic phrases. I've been forcing myself to be Pelleas as well as Melisande." At the end of October he played this scene to his friend Raymond Bonheur, who was enthusiastic in his praise.

At the beginning of November 1893 Debussy drew up a series of cuts which he wanted to make to the text and decided to travel to Ghent to discuss them with Maeterlinck. He described the meeting in a letter to Chausson: "I saw Maeterlinck and spent the day with him at Ghent. To begin with he behaved like a girl being introduced to her future husband but then he thawed out and was charming. When he talked about the theatre he was absolutely fascinating. For Pelleas he's allowing me to make whatever cuts I like and went as far as to suggest some important ones - extremely useful ones even! He claims he doesn't understand anything about music." Debussy finally tackled the opening act in December 1893, omitting the first scene but progressing at a rate of one scene per month. In February 1894 he wrote to tell Chausson of the difficulties he had encountered: "I've spent days trying to capture that 'nothing' that Melisande is made of [...] At the moment it's Arkel who's tormenting me. He comes from beyond the grave and has that objective, prophetic gentleness of those who are soon to die - all of which has to be expressed with doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, te, doh!!! What a profession!"

Having completed the first act in May 1894, Debussy turned to Act III, which he finished in September 1894. These weeks were extremely productive. In a letter to Henri Lerolle of 28 August, he describes his work in detail: Scene 2 (the castle vaults) is said to be "full of impalpable terror and mysterious enough to make the most well-balanced listener giddy"; Scene 3 is "full of sunshine, but a sunshine reflecting our mother the sea". Debussy goes on to announce that he has finished Act IV, Scene 3 ("the scene with the sheep"): "Here I've tried to get across something at least of the compassion of a child who sees a sheep mainly as a sort of toy he can't touch and also as the object of a pity no longer felt by those who are only anxious for a comfortable life." He ends by describing the sense of anxiety he feels at the final scene of the third act: "It's terrifying, the music's got to be profound and absolutely accurate. There's a 'petit pere' that gives me nightmares."

For a period of several months Debussy seems to have abandoned work on Pelleas in favour of other projects such as the orchestration of the Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune and the first version of the three Nocturnes for violin and orchestra. (Written for Eugene Ysaye, this last-named piece was not completed but was probably reworked as the three Nocturnes for orchestra.) He may, however, have worked on the first two scenes of Act IV between January and February 1895. Between April and June of that year we know that he threw himself into Act V. All that remained now was Act II, which presented him with unsuspected difficulties: "I thought the second act of Pelleas would be child's play and it's the very devil!" In a letter to Lerolle, he lists the obstacles which he has had to overcome in setting this act to music: "Especially the scene between Golaud and Melisande! That's the point where things begin to move towards the catastrophe, and where Melisande begins to tell Golaud lies and to realise her own motives, assisted in this by the said Golaud, a solid fellow for all that; it also shows you shouldn't be completely frank, even with young girls. I think you'll like the scene in front of the cave. I tried to capture all the mystery of the night and the silence in which a blade of grass roused from its slumbers makes an alarming noise. And then there's the sea nearby, telling its sorrows to the moon and Pelleas and Melisande a little scared of talking, surrounded by so much poetry."

Pelleas thus remained a rough draft until 1900, although Debussy is known to have reworked certain of its scenes. Various plans to perform the work came to nothing. The idea of staging it at the Opera-Comique had been accepted in principle as early as May 1898, but Debussy did not receive written confirmation from the director, Albert Carre, until May 3, 1901. Having completed the vocal score, he was obliged to work extremely quickly on the orchestration since the premiere had been fixed for April 1902 and rehearsals under the conductor Andre Messager were due to start on January 13, 1902.

There remained the problem of casting the opera and of finding singers who were considered vocally and physically suited to their roles. The part of Pelleas fell to the baritone Jean Perier, a piece of casting which caused Debussy certain problems, since the part was written for a tenor. A number of changes had to be made to the vocal line. With the exception of Melisande, the other roles were cast as follows: Golaud was Hector Dufranne, Arkel was Felix Vieuille, and Genevieve was Jeanne Gerville-Reache. It was the casting of Mary Garden as Melisande, however, which led to an argument with Maeterlinck. As soon as Debussy received Carre's written agreement to perform the work, he had in fact written to Maeterlinck to announce the planned production. Maeterlinck decided to come to Paris in June 1901, hoping that his mistress and future wife, Georgette Leblanc, would sing the role of Melisande. She had already sung several roles in operas by Bruneau, Massenet and Bizet and, after several rehearsals with Debussy, was convinced that she would be an ideal interpreter of the part of Melisande. Carre, however, exercised his right of veto and accepted responsibility for the quarrel that was to follow. He considered her lacking in the physical qualities of "child woman" required of the part and finally chose the Scottish-bom soprano, Mary Garden, who had made a name for herself in Gustave Charpentier's Louise. Following a run-through of the part, at which Debussy played the piano, the composer went to see Carre and announced he had found his Melisande. There was no longer any question of having Georgette Leblanc in the part.

Maeterlinck did not see matters in this light. After a meeting with Carre and Debussy, in which he failed to get his way, he decided to complain to the Society of Authors. However, since Debussy had Maeterlinck's letter of 1895 authorising him to do what he liked and where, the playwright decided to withdraw his complaint. He toyed with the idea of challenging Debussy to a duel and even tried to threaten him physically. His final recourse was to write a letter to Le Figaro, distancing himself from the work. He claimed unfairly that the cuts which Debussy had made (and to which he had given his consent) disfigured his work and that, as staged at the Opera-Comique, he no longer recognised it as his own: "I am reduced to hoping that it will be an immediate and resounding flop."

In a short article written in April 1902 and titled "Why I wrote 'Pelleas'", Debussy explained the novel nature of a work which was soon to divide the musical world: "The drama of Pelleas - which, despite its atmosphere of dreams, contains much more humanity than so-called real-life documents - seemed to suit my intention admirably. It has an evocative language whose sensitivity could find its extension in music and in orchestral setting. I also tried to obey a law of beauty which, strangely enough, composers seem to forget when it comes to writing dramatic music; the characters in this drama try to sing like real people, not in an arbitrary language made up of out-moded traditions. Hence the reproach that has been levelled at my so-called predilection for monotonous declamation, in which nothing melodic ever appears [...]. In the first place, this is wrong; in addition to which a character's feelings cannot be continuously expressed in a melodic fashion."

The dress rehearsal on April 28, 1902 took place in an atmosphere of some tension. Outside the theatre a pamphlet was on sale, caricaturing the piece. Mary Garden's foreign accent caused outbursts of hilarity, while Yniold's repeated cries of "petit pere" provoked the audience into shouting and whistling. None the less, the protests were interrupted by warm applause and the performance was allowed to continue. The censor's office had demanded the suppression of Act III, Scene 4 in which Golaud forces Yniold to spy on Pelleas and Melisande but, in the event, only fourteen bars were cut.

The first performance on April 30, 1902 provoked a veritable confrontation between the work's supporters ("the Pelleastres") and its detractors. The press and the musical world found themselves divided. While certain critics had harsh things to say about the work, Paul Dukas, for example, spoke enthusiastically about it in a long account of the piece: "Through its poetry, the moving humanity of its characters, the expressive significance of each of the aspects of this dream-like setting, against which - like the shadowy images of innocence, goodness, violence and ecstasy -beings emerge, tragically unwitting, the literary drama ceaselessly touches on those areas of feeling in which verbal expression longs to merge with musical expression. It is musical thanks to the mysterious atmosphere in which even its most strongly articulated and illumined parts are bathed. It is musical, too, thanks to the harmonic richness of the language and of its dialogue, the phrases of which are filled with distant meaning and whose echoes the orchestra alone is able to prolong and throw back." Dukas concluded that "every phase of the work stands out distinctly against a common background of emotion and humanity, every bar asserts its correspondence not only with the setting which it underlines, be it ever so somber or vibrant with radiant brightness, but also with the feelings which it can recreate, from the most tender and most passionate to the most terrible and mysterious".

Pelleas et Melisande was performed some thirty times during its first three seasons (1902-04). Not only did it compel recognition as a work, it also marked a definitive turning-point in its composer's career.

-Denis Herlin (translation: Stewart Spencer)


  Соисполнители :

Anthony Britten (Vocals)
David Ward (Vocals)
Donald McIntyre (Vocals)
George Shirley (Vocals)
Yvonne Minton (Vocals)


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Наименование трека

Текст

Длительность

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   1 01 A Forest         0:12:27 Act 1
   1 02 A Room In The Castle         0:10:18 -"-
   1 03 In Front Of The Castle         0:06:49 -"-
   1 04 A Fountain In The Park         0:10:10 Act 2
   1 05 A Room In The Castle         0:13:32 -"-
   1 06 Outside A Cave         0:04:34 -"-
   2 01 One Of The Castle Towers         0:14:05 Act 3
   2 02 The Castle Vaults         0:04:33 -"-
   2 03 A Terrace At The Entrance To The Vaults         0:05:08 -"-
   2 04 In Front Of The Castle         0:09:54 -"-
   3 01 A Room In The Castle         0:03:16 Act 4
   3 02 Scene 2         0:16:07 -"-
   3 03 A Fountain In The Park         0:04:00 -"-
   3 04 Scene 4         0:14:46 -"-
   3 05 A Room In The Castle         0:24:51 Act 5

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