De­bussy’s mys­te­ri­ous fairy­tale seen in a fresh light

Opera Pel­léas et Mélisande

The Guardian - - THE CRITICS JOURNAL - Love blos­soms … Car­roll and McGovern Tim Ash­ley

Gars­ing­ton Opera, Worm­s­ley what he sees. We are re­peat­edly told that be­yond the de­crepit en­clo­sure of Tom Piper’s gothic set, war and famine lurk un­seen. The in­ter­val comes at the end of the sec­ond act, af­ter the lovers have dis­cov­ered tramps hid­ing in a grotto by the sea. We leave for sup­per with the dis­pos­sessed look­ing back at us in telling ac­cu­sa­tion.

McGovern and Car­roll make an en­tirely cred­i­ble pair of in­no­cents, whose grow­ing feel­ings for each other grad­u­ally blos­som into shy sex­ual rap­ture, while Gay ne­go­ti­ates Go­laud’s de­scent into jeal­ously and vi­o­lence with con­sid­er­able sub­tlety. Davies is about as good as it gets as Yniold, and Su­san Bick­ley, won­der­ful as al­ways, is lux­ury cast­ing as Geneviève.

Hand­somely con­ducted by Jac van Steen, the Phil­har­mo­nia’s play­ing is glo­ri­ous, though just oc­ca­sion­ally, on open­ing night, it threat­ened to en­gulf the singers at cli­mac­tic mo­ments. Un­til 7 July. Box of­fice: 01865 361636.

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