Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande eBook

Lawrence Gilman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 47 pages of information about Debussy's Pellas et Mlisande.
stretch her arms out so?—­what does she wish?” “Toward her child, without doubt,” answers the physician.  “It is the struggle of motherhood against....”  “At this moment?—­At once?” cries Golaud, in a renewed outburst of anguish....  “Oh, oh!  I must speak to her!  Melisande!  Melisande!—­leave me alone with her!” “Trouble her not,” gravely interposes Arkel.  “Do not speak to her again.—­You know not what the soul is.—­We must speak in low tones now.  She must no longer be disturbed.  The human soul is very silent.  The human soul likes to depart alone.  It suffers so timidly!  But the sadness, Golaud, the sadness of all we see!” At this moment the servants fall suddenly on their knees at the back of the room.  Arkel turns suddenly:  “What is the matter?” The physician approaches the bed and examines the body of Melisande.  “They are right,” he says.  There is a silence.

“I saw nothing.  Are you sure?” questions Arkel.

“Yes, yes.”

“I heard nothing.  So quickly! so quickly!  She goes without a word!”

Golaud sobs aloud.

“Do not remain here,” says Arkel.  “She must have silence now.  Come; come.  It is terrible, but it is not your fault.  It was a little being, so quiet, so timid, and so silent.  It was a poor little mysterious being like everyone.  She lies there as though she were the elder sister of her baby.  Come; the child should not stay here in this room.  She must live, now, in her place.  It is the poor little one’s turn.”

III

THE MUSIC

A REVOLUTIONARY SCORE

Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande, drame lyrique en 5 actes et 12 tableaux, was performed for the first time on any stage at the Opera-Comique, Paris, April 30, 1902.  Its first performance outside of Paris was at the Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels, January 9, 1907; its second was at Frankfort, April 19, 1907.  Its third will be the coming production at the Manhattan Opera House, New York.  The original Paris cast was as follows:  Pelleas, M. Jean Perier; Melisande, Miss Mary Garden; Arkel, M. Vieuille; Golaud, M. Dufrane; Genevieve, Mlle. Gerville-Reache; Le petit Yniold, M. Blondin; Un Medicin, M. Viguie.  M. Andre Messager was the conductor.  The work was admirably mounted under the supervision of the Director of the Opera-Comique, M. Albert Carre.

The fortunes of the opera have not been altogether happy.  It has been said that Debussy conceived the idea of writing music for Maeterlinck’s play soon after its first performance at the Bouffes-Parisiens in 1893; that, although it was necessary to secure the dramatist’s consent to its adaptation, he did not solicit Maeterlinck’s permission until he had thought out his musical scheme to a considerable degree of elaboration; and that Maeterlinck (being of that complacent majority of literary men who neither

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Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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