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Pellas et Mlisande

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Music:Claude Debussy
Libretto:based on the play by Maeterlinck
Premiere:Paris, April 30, 1902

For Pellas et Mlisande, Debussy composed a score as subtle and haunting as the story of the mysterious creature Mlisande, coaxed from her dark forest home to secretly wed Golaud, grandson of King Arkl of Allemonde. The King forgives Golaud, but Mlisande, wandering in the garden with her brother-in-law Pellas, drops her wedding ring in a pool, magically causing her husband to be injured in a fall from his horse. From his bed, Golaud sends Mlisande after the enchanted ring, and when Pellas accompanies her, the two fall innocently into childlike love. Jealous Golaud warns Mlisande away from Pellas, but she agrees to a last meeting, and the couple abandon themselves to their premonitions of doom. Suddenly Golaud bursts on to the scene, slays Pellas and chases Mlisande, wounding her slightly. After giving birth to a girl, Mlisande quietly dies, resisting repentant Golaud's pleadings and denying any guilt to the end.


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