Debussy’s mysterious fairytale seen in a fresh light
Opera Pelléas et Mélisande
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.