The other production so far I've seen is the 1987 production with Jose Van Dam as Golaud and Francois Le Roux as Pelleas. Outside of the musical values and Van Dam's performance, I didn't care very much for the rather visually unattractive and dramatically remote production on the role. This Pelleas Et Melisande though I just loved. The opera doesn't have the most involving story in the world, but Debussy's music, which has Debussy's style but has a Wagnerian touch to it I think, is enough to haunt you for days. Now after this performance, I think my appreciation for Pelleas Et Melisande has just gone up a notch. The production visually does look stunning. The time and place of the performance is not clear, but you don't care when you see the striking blue, black and white costumes and the hypnotic, dream-like sets. It was almost as if you were watching a production of Wagner's Parsifal or something. The staging moves seamlessly from one scene to another and is overall thoughtful and heartfelt. The direction of the singers is also noteworthy. As is the lush orchestral playing and Pierre Boulez's beautifully judged and somewhat innovative. The performances are beyond praise. Alison Hagley, a wonderful Susanna in Le Nozze Di Figaro, takes your breath away as Melisande. She is young and attractive with a beautiful voice to match. Neill Archer's Pelleas is played with a lot of sincerity and I liked the youthful vigour in his sound. Kenneth Cox makes for a wise and gentle King Arkel and his deep sonorous voice just pours out of him with no extra effort. The Yniold of Samuel Burkey has some very difficult music to sing and does really wonderfully with it as well as with some convincing acting. Penelope Walker's Genevieve is excellent as well. But my top plaudits have to do to Donald Maxwell, whose Golaud is superb. His heavier and darker sound contrasts really well with the more youthful timbres of Archer and Hagley, and he makes this character really multifaceted, the love, jealousy and remorse of this character come through flawlessly in Maxwell's performance. Overall, this is an outstanding production. Okay the fact that the DVD has the production on two discs mean that the flow is broken, but you judge it solely on the quality of the performance, there is nothing really to criticise. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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