April 2008

Nic just returned from Toronto, where he revived his production of PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE at the Canadian Opera Company in their wonderful new theater, the Four Seasons Center. Christopher Hoile of EyeWeekly wrote: “Elusive is an adjective always used about Claude Debussy’s 1902 opera Pelléas et Mélisande, but in the Canadian Opera Company’s current production a first-rate cast, intriguing design and insightful direction bring out the work’s strange beauty and make it dramatically compelling. This is the first time this critic has been so drawn into this opera’s world of mystery and half-light. Debussy basically set Maurice Maeterlinck’s influential 1893 symbolist play of the same name, with a few excisions, to music. In both, all the characters sense, even in their happiest moments, that they are acting out a predetermined destiny. Director Nicholas Muni’s great insight is to allow the three principal characters at least the illusion they are acting of their own free will.”  John Keillor, of the National Post, wrote: The way Pelléas and Mélisande distantly relate towards each other makes no romantic sense, but feels completely right. And when Golaud murders Pelléas out of jealousy, it also makes perfect romantic sense, in a way that prompts the viewer to want to scrap romanticism entirely. Debussy probably wanted that effect…it all feels truthful in its poised, psychological aggression and its ghostlier demarcations. The overall morbidity seems to be speaking to the audience directly about what our civilized natures allow us to understand about ourselves.”

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