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Category:    Home > Reviews > Opera > Classical > Concert > Claude Debussy – Pelleas et Melisande/Franz Welser-Most (Naxos/TDK Blu-ray)

Claude Debussy – Pelleas et Melisande/Franz Welser-Most (Naxos/TDK Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: C     Opera/Concert: B



Claude Debussy is one of the latter-day innovators of Opera and the fact that Pelléas et Mélisande first arrived in 1902 shows that the form is younger and more vibrant that its stuffy image would have us believe.  A new Blu-ray of a concert by Opernhaus Zurich recreates the classic work in a very interesting way, dealing with a love triangle and ideas of death by including mannequins that look too much like the actors.  Also haunting is that after 6.5 years, this is the first time we have ever covered a Debussy work!


At 161 minutes, this 5-act piece with a libretto that was more direct and key than any had been in placement before (apparently inspired by Mussorgsky in part) gives us a love triangle that involves both royalty and the two males are half-brothers.  Director Franz Welser-Most understands how this could have darker overtones and addresses them in ironic ways throughout.  The cast (Isabel Rey, Rodney Gilfry, Michael Volle, Cornelia Kallisch, Laszlo Polgar) are very effective in pulling this off with almost supernatural implications.  All involved are obvious fans of the original and deliver a work that purists might consider too post-modern, but I liked it and it deserves to be seen by a larger audience as much as the work itself deserves general rediscovery.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image is a little softer than expected, with the motion blur lasting a little longer than expected, but color is not bad.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 7.1 mix is not bad, but does stretch out the original soundmix more than expected, but still manages to hold up just enough to earn its rating.  The only extra is the booklet inside the Blu-ray respective case with table of contents, notes in three languages (English, German, French) and illustrations, but nothing on the actual disc.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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