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Singers: Simon Keenlyside

19 April 2011 at 20:30
Barbican Hall, London

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande, concert performance

Orchestre de Paris
Louis Langrée, conductor
Natalie Dessay, Mélisande
Simon Keenlyside, Pelléas
Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Geneviève
Laurent Naouri, Golaud
Alain Vernhes, Arkel
Khatouna Gadelia, Yniold
Nahuel Di Pierro, Doctor

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"Laurent Naouri's superb Golaud captured the character's pain and anger so poignantly that one could not but empathise with his suffering. Simon Keenlyside similarly invested Pélleas [sic] with a vivid identity: his declaration of love for Mélisande in Act 4 was electrifying. The roles of Arkel and Geneviève were admirably taken by Alain Vernhes and Marie-Nicole Lemieux.

"Which leaves the problematic Mélisande of the highly regarded Natalie Dessay. She alone buried her head in the score -- a monosyllabic 'Oui!' as she hastened onto the stage was one of the few lines delivered from memory. The result was unengaging in the extreme, but at the same time too studied. Dessay may perhaps have been trying to suggest Mélisande's almost psychotic introversion but in the process she sacrificed her affecting, childlike simplicity."--Barry Millington, thisislondon.co.uk, 4 stars

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"Keenlyside was a profoundly moving Pelleas, full of humanity. Yes, he's getting a little old for the role, but who cares when its sung like this. His relations with Dessay's Melisande quivered beautifully with unspoken depths. That is the delight of this opera; the dialogue is matter of fact and natural, but much is implied and requires a sort of restraint from the singers. Something all of them understood, under Langree's capable direction."--Planet Hugill--Classical Music blog from Robert Hugill

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Review, Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 5 stars

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A latecomer says he received a grumpy look from Simon Keenlyside as he sat down.

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Review, Classical Iconoclast

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Review, Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk

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Blog post, Entartete Musik

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Review, Christopher Gunning, Seen and Heard International

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Review, Sebastian Petit, Opera Britannia, 4.5 stars

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Brief review, Tim Ashley, guardian.co.uk, 5 stars

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Review, Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage.com, 5 stars

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Review, Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, guardian.co.uk

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"El rol titular recaía en manos de Simon Keenlyside. Y hay que decir que el rol le va ciertamente bien. Vocalmente no es un papel demasiado largo, así que las esforzadas subidas al agudo las pudo acometer sin fatiga, recreándose además con abundantes medias voces y con un fraseo delicadísimo. Su dicción francesa es impecable y el contraste tímbrico con el Golaud de Naouri resultó ejemplar. Un Pelléas irreprochable, en resumen."--Gigantes y Cabezudos

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Review, with photos, Intermezzo

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Review, Peter Reed, classicalsource.com

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Some footage of rehearsal in Paris:

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CD and DVD

Some upcoming engagements

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Yahoo! group: Fans of Simon Keenlyside

Simon Keenlyside as Pelléas