Columns linked to Pelléas and Mélisande

Pelléas and Mélisande in Pieces at the Munich summer Festival

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande is an opera of disconnections. Mélisande’s first words are, ‘Ne me touchez pas!’ -- ‘Do not touch me!’ And, indeed, she (and everyone else) remains isolated. Not only physical contact, but emotional and intellectual contact seem impossible throughout the opera. Characters fail to understand their own emotions and fail to communicate what little they do understand. They constantly...