Festival der Künste2021

Maurice Maeterlinck: Pelléas et Mélisande

Maurice Maeterlinck: Pelléas et Mélisande | © Virginie Déjos

The lockdown gave me the time to read both, new books and to delve once again into the works I love so much. Recently, I also spent time listening to one of my favorite operas - Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy. Its libretto has its origins in Maeterlinck’s piece with the same name. This is the book I will bring along to the festival.

A few years ago I learned this opera one September in Saint-Jean-de-Luz on the Atlantic Coast. The symbolism of this work will always remind me of my walks alongside the steep path along the coastline. The memories of the sun shining on the sea and the sound of the waves as they crashed against the steep cliffs reflected Maeterlinck’s lyrics and Debussy’s music. I heard the rushing of the waves and I heard Debussy’s music in the rushing waves… and the tempo was the same.

Maeterlinck’s text constantly mentions the shadows and the light… and the sea:

»I came from the ocean’s end  – we, too were searching for brightness. Here it is somewhat brighter than elsewhere; however, the sea is dark.«

»We will stand still at the moment we no longer see the brightness of the ocean... Is it the sound of the cave that frightens you? It is the sound of the night or the sound of silence... Do you hear the ocean behind us?«

Virginie Déjos, 3 March 2021