Simon Rattle / London Symphony Orchestra

Debussy: Pelléas & Mélisande

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AllMusic Review by

The London Symphony Orchestra has not issued much opera on its own label, naturally enough. But this semi-staged version of Pélleas et Mélisande, recorded at the Barbican in 2016, has been commercially successful and may induce further projects of this type. There are major stars, and they sing well, but the unsung stars of the recording are the LSO's engineers, who produce an immediate, clear picture of the singers that you end up feeling would be hard to beat in a studio. As for the stage roles, the production was filled with big voices. You might not think of Magdalena Kozená (Mélisande) or Bernarda Fink (Geneviève) as Debussy singers, but they work well here in the weighty, Wagnerian reading by Sir Simon Rattle. Sample the dialogues between the two titular figures for an indication of the crackling chemistry between Kozená and Christian Gerhaher (Pelléas); the Golaud of Gerald Finley is another standout. A fine Pelléas, and a suggestion of how effective the semi-staged medium, without all the clomping around, can be for recorded opera.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Pelléas et Mélisande
1 03:53
2 07:27
3 02:24
4 03:16
5 06:25
6 01:23
7 02:53
8 04:17
9 03:31
10 03:07
11 03:19
12 09:27
13 02:55
14 02:32
15 05:14

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Pelléas et Mélisande
1 06:12
2 05:07
3 03:55
4 03:15
5 05:03
6 01:07
7 06:11
8 05:06
9 03:20
10 06:22
11 03:40
12 04:03
13 03:35
14 03:58
15 04:22
16 02:14
17 04:20
18 04:22
blue highlight denotes track pick