At the Russian premiere of Debussy’s opera, Philippe Beziat uses Marc Minkowski and Olivier Py’s first collaborative effort as material for a unique film. Neither film-opera nor documentary, nor television broadcast, this musical movie captures the piece’s mystery and shows how the production’s conductor, director, French and Russian singers, stage crew and extras all find themselves under Pelléas et Mélisande’s spell.
The opera, first performed in Paris in 1902, had never been staged in Russia. In June 2007, director Olivier Py and conductor Marc Minkowski produced Claude Debussy’s masterpiece in Moscow for the first time, with a Franco-Russian cast. To spectators unfamiliar with Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy, or even opera, they wanted to create a sensory, imaginary space that they could make their own, without partiality or preconceived notions.
“We never see but the reverse side of fate, even of our own,” the old King Arkel sings. On screen, the shimmering world of the theatre becomes an allegorical cave of the world, peopled with Claude Debussy, Maurice Maeterlinck, Olivier Py, Marc Minkowski, as well as young Russian singers, technicians, extras, an entire brotherhood of beings who are “mysterious like everyone”.
The film comes with bonuses: ‘La Mort de Pelléas’, a 1989 documentary by Olivier Horn about Manuel Rosenthal’s premiere of Debussy’s opera in Carcacas; and ‘Mon Pelléas’, an unseen interview with François Le Roux, who’s sung the roles of both Pelléas and Golaud. The accompanying booklet includes insightful interviews with Marc Minkowski, Olivier Py and Philippe Béziat.
Region: 2 (Europe)
Rating: E (Exempt from Certification)
Duration: 108 minutes
Picture Format: Colour, 16:9
Sound format: Dolby SRD