Pelleas et melisande


Opera Vlaanderen presents 'Pelléas et Mélisande' in 2018, the year that marks the centennial of Debussy's death. The direction and choreography will be provided by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet. For the staging, they will be collaborating with the world-famous performance artist Marina Abramović. Their vision will bring to the surface the unspoken tensions and complex relationships that give the characters in Pelléas et Mélisande their power. They are exploring the potential to visually capture the connections between what is profoundly human and universally metaphysical.

"One evening, I found her, crying at the edge of a spring, in the forest in which I was lost," writes Prince Golaud to his half-brother Pelléas in a letter. The only information that Golaud found out about the mysterious woman is that her name is Mélisande. They are married and after several months, return home to Allemonde. Very quickly an unpleasant love triangle arises between the two half-brothers and Mélisande. Pelléas is a soulmate for Mélisande. By contrast, Golaud frightens her by reacting with incomprehension and terror to her silent and inscrutable nature. Golaud's jealousy will bring the passion between the two lovers to an abrupt end.


With Pelléas et Mélisande (1902), the French composer Claude Debussy created an absolute high point in the history of opera. He composed for virtually the entire original text of the play by Maurice Maeterlinck. This Belgian winner of the Nobel Prize for literature created a symbolic universe that inspired Debussy to an evocative and highly poetic musical contemplation of human states of being.


Coproduction with Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, L’Opéra national du Rhin Strasbourg, GöteborgsOperan & Grand Théâtre de Genève




Alejo Pérez

Director and choreography

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet


Set and concept

Marina Abramović


Marco Brambilla


Iris van Herpen


Urs Schönebaum

Choreographic assistants    Aimilios Arapoglou and Leif Finhaber Pinos



Koen Bollen

Music dramaturgy

Piet De Volder

dancers                                Shawn Ahern

Jason Kittelberger

Joseph Kudra

Morgan Lugo

Robbie Moore

Oscar Ramos

Jonas Vandekerckhove






“*****Sensual, total, imagined by a team of shock, dreamlike even in its costumes and carried by musicians and singers of high quality, this Pelléas and Melisande is essential. “ toute la culture


**** a visual triumph. Both the lavish ensembles and the more subtle duets convince, while at the same time the symbolic enigmatic nature of Maeterlinck's libretto is polished and maintained. Overwhelming.



“ One of these opera production that you should not miss. It was written in the stars that the new 'Pelléas et Mélisande' would not become an ordinary production at Opera Vlaanderen.

De tijd


“ A triumphant collaboration”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung