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Debussy: Pelleas Et Melisande / Von Stade, Stilwell, Van Dam, Karajan


Release Date: 11/17/2009 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 66723   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude Debussy
Performer:  Nadine DenizePascal ThomasRichard StilwellFrederica Von Stade,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraBerlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



DEBUSSY Pelléas et Melisande Herbert von Karajan, cond; Richard Stilwell ( Pelléas ); Frederica von Stade ( Mélisande ); José van Dam ( Golaud ); Ruggero Raimondi ( Arkel ); Nadine Denize ( Geneviève ); Christine Barbaux ( Yniold Read more class="ARIAL12">); Berlin Op Ch; Berlin PO EMI 66723 (3 CDs: 162:08 Text and Translation)


I’m so used to being a maverick voice in the wilderness that it always amazes, and sometimes unsettles, me when I notice that almost everyone else agrees with me on a certain recording. This is one such, a recording that was recognized as a classic almost from the first day of its release back in the 1970s, a recording that has never left the active catalog. One British reviewer complained that Richard Stilwell’s Pelléas is somewhat flat and lacks “face.” So be it; but I’ve still never heard the role sung anywhere as beautifully. Moreover, Karajan proved here, as Piero Coppola did in the late 1920s and Pierre Monteux in a famous Met performance of the opera in the 1950s, that our perception of this music as some sort of cool, placid opera, a perception spread to collectors via the famous Roger Desdormière recording from the early 1940s, is incomplete. Karajan’s approach, initially damned by a minority of critics as “overheated” when it first appeared, restored the simmering undercurrent of emotion and eroticism to an opera that had since been deemed safe because it was emotionally neuter.


Von Stade’s unsettled, sometimes edgy Mélisande is such a classic interpretation that we sometimes fail to realize that she was a mezzo soprano, and that this was the first complete recording of the opera featuring this voice range in the title role. Since then, it has been performed by mezzo so often that we take it for granted that it can go either way. Raimondi is a marvelously querulous, sometimes confused Arkel, Denize is superb as Geneviève, and Barbaux sounds so much like a young boy that you have to look twice at the cast list to realize that it’s sung by a soprano. This recording, to put it modestly, was a game-changer, and since its release no other performance on discs has surpassed it.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley [5/2012]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Nadine Denize (Mezzo Soprano), Pascal Thomas (Bass), Richard Stilwell (Baritone),
Frederica Von Stade (Mezzo Soprano), José Van Dam (Bass Baritone), Ruggero Raimondi (Bass),
Christine Barbaux (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1893-1902; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1978 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Berlin, West Germany 

Sound Samples

Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene One: Introduction
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene One: Je ne pourrai plus sortir de cette forêt (Golaud/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene One: Qu'est-ce qui brille ainsi, au fond de l'eau? (Golaud/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene One: Interlude
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene Two: Voici ce qu'il écrit à son frère Pelléas: un soir, je l'ai trouvée (Geneviève)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene Two: Je n'en dis rien (Arkel/Geneviève)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene Two: Grand-père, j'ai reçu en même temps que la lettre de mon frère (Pelléas/Arkel/Geneviève)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene Two: Interlude
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene Three: Il fait sombre dans les jardins (Mélisande/Geneviève/Pelléas)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act One, Scene Three: Hoé! Hisse hoé! Hoé! Hoé! (Choer/Mélisande/Pelléas/Geneviève)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene One: Vous ne savez pas où je vous ai menée? (Pelléas/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene One: C'est au bord d'une fontaine aussi qu'l vous a trouvée? (Pelléas/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene One: Interlude
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene Two: Ah! Ah! Tout va bien, cela ne sera rien (Golaud/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene Two: Je suis....je suis malade ici (Mélisande/Golaud)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene Two: Il est vrai que (Golaud/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene Two: Tiens, où est l'anneau que je t'avais donné? (Golaud/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene Two: Interlude
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Two, Scene Three: Oui, c'est ici, nous y sommes (Pelléas/Mélisande)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene One: Mes longs cheveux descendent (Mélisande/Pelléas)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene One: Oh! Oh! Mes cheveux descendent de la tour! (Mélisande/Pelléas)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene One: Je les noue, je les noue aux branches du saule (Pelléas/Mélisande/Golaud)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene One: Interlude
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene Two: Prenez garde; par ici, par ici (Golaud/Pelléas)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene Two: Interlude
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene Three: Ah! Je respire enfin! (Pelléas/Golaud)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene Three: A propos de Mélisande (Pelléas/Golaud)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene Three: (Interlude)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene Four: Viens, nous allons nous asseoir ici, Yniold (Golaud/Yniold)
Pelléas et Mélisande (1999 Digital Remaster), Act Three, Scene Four: Ah! Ah! Petite mère a allumé sa lampe (Yniold/Golaud)

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