Pélleas et Mélisande

By Claude Debussy

ISBN: 9780714544137

100 pages

RRP: £8.00

In this guide to Pelléas and Mélisande, Maeterlinck’s original play is reprinted in full, so that the opera lover can read the scenes that Debussy did not set to music. Hugh Macdonald’s much praised English translation is published here for the first time, with an essay uncovering the musical roots of Pelléas and Mélisande and illustrating its importance to the music of the twentieth century. Alain Raitt, author of several studies of symbolist writers, evaluates Maeterlinck’s status as a dramatist, and Roger Nichols analyses the score. Proust’s short pastiche of the opera and Arthur Symons’s review of the first English performances challenge us to come to terms with this eternally intriguing masterpiece.

Contents: Something Borrowed, Something New, Hugh Macdonald; A Musical Synopsis, Roger Nichols; Maeterlinck and the Theatre, Alan Raitt; Profound or Pretentious?, Nicholas John; Pelléas et Mélisande: text by Maurice Maeterlinck; Pelléas and Mélisande: English Translation by Hugh Macdonald

For a full list of Calder Opera Guides in association with English National Opera click here



  • All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.

    Daily Telegraph

  • Brilliantly produced and superb value.

    Sunday Times

  • Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.


Claude Debussy

Claude-Achille Debussy (1862–1918) is among the most important of all French composers, and a central figure in European music of the turn of the twentieth century. Debussy’s work often reflected the activities or turbulence in his own life.