Göttinger Symphonie Orchester / Christoph-Mathias Mueller CLAUDE DEBUSSY The Edgar Allan Poe Operas

Admired for his ability to manipulate tone color, Claude Debussy’s opera Pelleas et Melisande is regarded as a special masterpiece, even if it is a solitary one. Debussy was not known for opera. While Pelleas et Melisande was his only successful opera during his lifetime, it was not the only opera he composed. He made plans for future operatic projects, and he dedicated himself to two projects based on texts by Edgar Allen Poe. As the final years of his life were plagued by poor health, Debussy worked on “La Chute de la maison Usher” (The Fall of the House of Usher) until just before his death. The composer was distraught at the thought of leaving the work unfinished. He also was working on “Le Diable dans le Beffroi” (The Devil in the Belfry), but this work only survived in sketch form. English musicologist Robert Orledge, who is renowned for his expertise in early twentieth century French music, reconstructed both of these works with immense sensitivity to Debussy’s style, filling in all of the missing passages. While Debussy was alive, he promised the New York Metropolitan Opera the premiere of both of the operas, believing he would survive through their completion. This production featuring the Gottinger Symphonie Orchester is the world premiere of the works, in the way that Debussy would have had the Metropolitan Opera perform them. (Arkiv Music)

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