New production by Marco Arturo Marelli also brings 30,000 litres of water to the stage
After an interval of more than 50 years, the opera Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy is returning to the Finnish National Opera. Its previous appearance was in 1958, with a run of only five performances and sung in Finnish.
Now, Pelléas et Mélisande is being performed in French and by a top-notch cast at that: Finnish tenor Topi Lehtipuu as Pelléas, baritone François le Roux as Golaud, and mezzosoprano Angelika Kirchschlager as Mélisande. Arkel will be played by Jyrki Korhonen, and Geneviève will be played by Artistic Director designate Lilli Paasikivi and Sari Nordqvist.
The production team is also highly merited. The director and set designer is Marco Arturo Marelli, and the costume designer is Dagmar Niefind. The duo have previously staged Pelléas et Mélisande at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin to critical acclaim.
Marelli wishes to present the Symbolist tale of Pelléas and Mélisande in concrete terms too, because only then can the subconscious level work as intended. "Four generations are intertwined through illness, death and stagnation. This internal entrapment, loneliness and isolation is the governing factor for what we see on stage. It guided my vision of a space bounded by water, a sort of bunker set against reflecting depths," Marelli says.
The production includes 30,000 litres of water in large pools on the stage. Debussy's music is also like water, according to Marelli: it flows at varying speeds, its surface reflects people and events, and its unseen depths are limitless.
The Marelli-Niefind duo have previously visited the FNO to stage productions of Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss and Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi. The premiere of Pelléas et Mélisande will be conducted by Mikko Franck, Artistic Director of the Opera.