Opera Scotland

Claude Debussy Suggest updates

Achille Claude Debussy.

Born St Germain-en-Laye, 22 August 1862.

Died Paris, 25 Match 1918.

French composer.

Claude Debussy is renowned as a wonderful, trail-blazing composer of music both for orchestra and for solo piano.

In spite of only completing one full-length opera, Pelléas and Mélisande, Debussy can be seen as equally important for the development of opera through the twentieth century, with so much of the singing in almost conversational form. 

The two complete works listed here, The Prodigal Son and The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, are cantatas rather than operas, though they have both been staged with modest success. Rodrigue and Chimène uses the same subject as Massenet's successful grand opera Le Cid, derived from Corneille's tragedy.

The Fall of the House of Usher, based on Edgar Allan Poe, can be seen to follow the path forged by Pelléas - indeed the earlier work contains elements reminiscent of Poe, with its suggestions of gothic horror. Various attempts have been made to produce performable versions of both works.

Works performed in Scotland are shown in bold:

01   L’Enfant Prodigue (Paris 1884; staged London 1910) (Guinand)

02   Rodrigue et Chimène (1900 unfin; real Langham-Smith, orch Denisov, Lyon 1993) (Mendès)

03   Pelléas et Mélisande (Paris 1902) (Maeterlinck)      

04   Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien (Paris 1911) (d'Annunzio)

05   La Chûte de la Maison Usher (1908-17 unfin) (cpsr)

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