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Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande

From 28 February TO 27 March 2025
Opéra Bastille - Paris

Debussy : Pelléas et Mélisande

3:05 with 1 intermission
  • Conductor
    Antonello Manacorda
  • Director
    Wajdi Mouawad
  • Performers
    Pelléas: Huw Montague Rendall
    Mélisande: Sabine Devieilhe
    Golaud: Gordon Bintner
    Geneviève: Sophie Koch
    Arkel: Jean Teitgen
Premium Category

Category Premium (valid on some dates): This category includes seats in Category + (Optima), a glass of champagne per person in private rooms and one programme per booking.

The Premium price includes a contribution (€150 per ticket) to support the friends of the Opera (AROP).

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Opéra Bastille - Paris Location Pl. de la Bastille - 75012 Paris France

  • Venue's Capacity: 2745

From its beginnings under Louis XIV to the present day, including the construction of the Palais Gamier under Napoleon III, the history of the Paris Opera has been marked by the wishes and whims of the French government. The decision to build a new opera on the Place de la Bastille is no exception, made by Frangois Mitterrand less than a year after being elected President. A competition was organized, and of the 750 projects presented, the one designed by the Uruguayan-Canadian architect Carl Ott won. The new building, whose large ground surface ostentatiously marks the site where the French Revolution broke out, was inaugurated during the bicentennial celebrations of that same Revolution in 1989.


From the Place de la Bastille, the building's glass facade, with its "aleatory" lighting designed by Yann Kersale, suggests the sober modernism of its interior, even more so because the interior uses the same construction materials as the exterior, symbolizing a desire to open out to the public. Once inside, one can discover the warmth of the light wood that adorns the large 2703-seat hall with its proscenium stage. But the building barely stops here, for one must imagine the enormous backstage that takes up 55 per cent of the edifice's total volume, the six underground stories of technical premises, the workshops that make and stock the mobile sets as well as the costumes, not to mention the Gounod Hall, that has a stage identical to the main one, used for rehearsals. Designed around a symmetrical axis that is symbolized by the sculpted tuning forks that decorate the public premises, the Bastille Opera is a formidable computerized machine for staging opera productions, employing the population of a veritable city-within-a-city.


The conductor Myung-Whun Chung faced the difficult task of starting up this machine. The audience discovered productions staged by Bob Wilson or Peter Sellars, which it did not always unanimously applaud. But today, in full possession of its impressive technical means, permitting the rotation of different productions, the Bastille Opera proposes the most diverse performances. Currently managed by Hugues Gall and his music director James Conlon, revivals, premieres and major productions now share the season's billing, at a pace that leaves the audience little respite.

Since 2014, Stépahne Lissner is the Director of the Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.


Pelléas et Mélisande


The intriguing work Pelléas et Mélisande from the French composer Claude Debussy is a tragic opera of heartfelt emotional power and depth. Featuring a libretto adapted from Maurice Maeterlinck's play of the same name, it had its première at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1902. It has since become one of the most respected operatic works in history. It is the only opera that Debussy ever completed and has retained its fascination to all lovers of classical performance ever since. The assortment of different world-wide productions and recordings are evidence of the opera's continued popularity.


Concerning a love triangle of romantic intensity, Pelléas et Mélisande taps into fundamental human concerns of love, power and devotion. Set in a legendary land of wonder and myth, the plot deals with the concerns of the two title characters and the aggressively jealous Prince Golaud. The mystical elements of the plot form a profound sense of heightened realism that gives the piece a marvellous transporting effect.

Act 1

The widowed Price Golaud finds the frightened girl Mélisande while lost in a forest. Mainly through fear she consents to follow him. Six months later in the castle of Golaud's father King Arkel, the King's other son Pelléas reads out the letter of matrimony that Golaud has sent. The king agrees to the marriage and the couple soon appear at the castle.

Act 2

Pelléas and Mélisande become increasingly attracted to each other. At a forest well they realise that they are in love. In a significant scene, she loses her wedding ring in the well. Golaud becomes increasingly suspicious of the two and sets about questioning the young lovers. The prince angrily warns Pelléas that Mélisande is pregnant with his child. He then interrogates the young man before turning his questions to his own son from a previous marriage, little Yniold. The child can revel nothing, and his father is left in moody contemplation.

Act 3

Pelléas tells Mélisande of his intention to leave the castle, finding the romantic entanglements too difficult. They agree to one final tryst. This is broken up by an enraged Golaus who witnesses them from the shadows. He storms in on the two and strikes Pelléas down with his sword. The pregnant Mélisande gives birth to her and Golaus's baby. The tragic opera draws to a final close with a dying Mélisande adamant of her love for Pelléas and a grief stricken Golaus dejected and alone.


Arkel, King of Allemonde, bass
Geneviève, mother of Golaud and Pelléas, contralto
Golaud, grandson of Arkel, baritone
Pelléas, grandson of Arkel, tenor
Mélisande, lover of Pelléas, soprano
Yniold, the young son of Golaud, soprano

Opéra Bastille (c) Christian Leiber

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