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By Matt Abotomey
October 01, 2018
By Matt Abotomey
October 01, 2018

in partnership with


When you think of French composer Claude Debussy, you're more likely to arrive at the dreamy, mellifluous 'Clair de Lune' than the melodramatic stampede of opera. But at the turn of the 20th century, the French composer decided to dabble. Adapting Maurice Maeterlinck's play about a woman found wandering in the forest by a prince, Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande added to his already burgeoning reputation as an innovator.

It was written in part as a response to the popular operatic traditions of the second half of the 19th century — and, more specifically, Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. In contrast to these dramatic works, Pelleas and Melisande favours subtlety. It is devoid of arias and has a libretto written in prose rather than verse, creating an ethereal atmosphere that is dark in its eeriness. It has made Pelleas and Melisande, Debussy's only opera, completely original and one that completely revolutionised the art form.

To mark the 100th anniversary of Debussy's death, Victorian Opera is staging a two-night run of the opera at St. Kilda's Palais Theatre. Featuring Siobhan Stagg as Melisande, Angus Wood as Pelleas and the Australian National Academy of Music orchestra, this is a great chance to remember (or get to know) one of the seminal works of this symbolist composer.

Tickets to Pelleas and Melisande start from $35. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Victorian Opera website.


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