Review: Cincinnati Symphony’s theatrical take on Fauré’s “Pelléas”

Posted on: October 4, 2016

“Maurice Maeterlinck’s play ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’ is steeped in symbolism and tinged with sadness,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Sunday’s (10/2) Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio). “What a revelation, then, to hear the play performed together with Gabriel Fauré’s incredible incidental music” at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Friday concert of “Maeterlinck’s rarely mounted Symbolist play … part of [Music Director] Louis Langrée’s multimedia ‘Pelleas Trilogy,’ the second installment of a three-year project. The CSO presented the world premiere of Stephen Wadsworth’s fresh new translation and reduction of the five-act play…. Director/designer James Darrah directed and curated the ambitious, hourlong production [layering] watery symbolism upon Maeterlinck’s symbolism. There was the deafening sound of a rushing waterfall before the play began, and sounds of water dripping as servants scrubbed the floor. Behind the reduced orchestra, which was seated onstage, an installation of draped fabric formed a contoured backdrop for atmospheric projections…. Langrée led the opening prelude while cloud-like imagery swept across the background and women with buckets washed the floor. The music, which included ‘Melisande at the Spinning Wheel’ and the ‘Death of Melisande,’ was consistently nuanced…. [A highlight] was the Elegy … given a stunning performance by principal cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn.”

Posted October 4, 2016