Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

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lennygoran
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Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by lennygoran » Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:01 am

I don't know about this one--Aix sure likes to do them differently. Regards, Len
PS-2 melisandes? "(she was a double image [yes, there were two of them], herself and she who sees herself). It is possible, maybe probable that the three men in her dream [Arkel, Pelleas and Golaud] were all one man — her absent groom, and maybe there never was one anyway. "

Image

Anyway the review:

Three parallel universes (before losing count) — the ephemeral Debussy/Maeterlinck masterpiece, the Debussy symphonic tone poem, and the twisted intricacies of a moldy, parochially English country estate.

Pelleas et Mélisande at the Aix Festival

A review by Michael Milenski

Above: (bottom to top) Melisande double, Laurent Naouri as Golaud, Barbara Hannigan as Melisande [All photos by Patrick Berger / Artcomart, courtesy of the Aix Festival]

It was inevitable. The Aix Festival has been grooming British theater director Katie Mitchell to take on the foggy atmospheres of this Debussy thriller for years. Dinner table after dinner table, bedroom after bedroom, slick theater to be sure (Written on Skin [2012], The House Taken Over [2013], Trauernacht [2014], Alcina [2015]), Mme. Mitchell is greatly admired for finding all human tension to be present in a domestic tea service.

Pelleas et Mélisande is undoubtably meant to be her masterpiece. She found Maeterlinck’s murky, hazy universe in the dream, rather nightmare of a bride alone in a hotel room. It was not always clear how these pre-conscious meanderings fit together (but of course the first thing you learn about dreams is that they don’t and that’s the fun). Like Maeterlink’s Mélisande we did not know how or why this bride got there. But there she was, center bedroom in her dream for three and one half hours (yes, right there for every second of those long, very long hours).

Given it was the Mélisande psyche that imagined her own particular universe she was rather more pro-active than Maeterlinck’s symbolic lost soul. Mme. Mitchell’s Mélisande made the men in her life react to her and watched the men in her life react to her (she was a double image [yes, there were two of them], herself and she who sees herself). It is possible, maybe probable that the three men in her dream [Arkel, Pelleas and Golaud] were all one man — her absent groom, and maybe there never was one anyway.

Certainly Mme. Mitchell with her dramaturg, Martin Crimp had all this worked out to the nth detail. Mme. Mitchell’s universe is very precise indeed. Including the a vista genitalia of Pelleas.


The greatest of the many glories of the Aix Festival (besides, well, going for broke in many of its stagings) is the casting. Shapely Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan was the Mélisande (the one who sang), existing much of the evening in her bra and panties, executing some spectacular physical theater moves from time to time (among other impressive accomplishment by Mme. Mitchell’s movement collaborator Joseph W. Alford), like a backwards summersault that left her contorted derrière aloft for extended moments, jumping animal-like onto Golaud’s back, etc. Her light and bright soprano illuminating her dreams in perfect French with impeccable musicianship. A total, spectacular performance.

Matched in every way by the Pelleas of French baritone Stéphane Degout and the Golaud of French bass-baritone Laurent Naouri. Both artists are of similar physical types that could make believable Maeterlinck’s half-brothers. Very male, handsome and physically fit both men were vocally very fit as well, the dark hued voice of Pelleas well able to scale the extreme range and emotional heights of this enigmatic force (Mme. Mitchell endowed him with the autistic nervous tic — at least in Melisande’s perception). Golaud in a black hued voice exuded every excited nuance of Maeterlinck’s most human and balanced and obsessive male force, creating in this staging finally a beautifully sculpted, deep and very moving pathos.


Parallel to Mme. Mitchell’s dream was Esa-Pekka Solonan’s descent into the sonic depths of Debussy’s masterpiece of orchestration. London’s Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the world’s fine ensembles, well able to manufacture a suave elegance for Debussy’s woodwinds, well able to ascend gracefully to fortissimo heights, and achieve shattering moments with no loss of sonic composure. It was an absolutely magnificent orchestral evening, seats in the mid section of the flawed Grand Théâtre de Provence offering a balanced if sometimes harsh sound, the voices on stage disarmingly amplified by the round shape of the theater.

The Philharmonia Orchestra is known for the warmth of its strings, and indeed they are, and the elegance of its winds. Conductor Salonen finds everything he needs to create the frigid warmth of his symphonic sound. His operatic emotions are well defined and highly considered, his great big moments are absolutely contained. Salonen’s lush symphonic poem ignored the unanswered questions and the mysteries of the story, remaining abstractly one dimensional.

This gifted maestro did not seem to care what occurred in those little scenic boxes up there on the stage. Nor did many of us.

Michael Milenski


http://www.operatoday.com/content/2016/ ... t_meli.php

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by John F » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:02 am

The one time I went to Aix, in 1961, the productions I saw were standard procedure: "Cos1i fan tutte" and "Incoronazione di Poppea." Very nicely done. The only recent Aix production I've seen is Peter Brook's "Don Giovanni," which has been filmed and is in YouTube; a minimalist production of a timeless drama, it should offend no one (but probably will offend lennygoran anyway :) ) and offers some gine insiguts into the characters as well as moments of brilliant theatre. One expects no less from Peter Brook.

"Pelléas et Mélisande" is set in no particular time or place - "Allemonde" is German/French for "All the world" - and Mélisande's character is famously elusive. Plenty of scope for a production such as the review describes, even if the reviewer found it boring. What really matters, for me at least, is the conductor, and on the strength of his other operatic work that I've heard, Esa-Pekka Salonen should be a good choice. The reviewer's comments, tacked onto the end of the review as if an afterthought, make no sense at all to me. That said, the Met's "Pelléas" in 2017-8 should surpass it, regardless of the cast, if as expected James Levine is in the pit. In this opera he is the master.
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:32 am

To take this in a slightly different direction. How many operas or oratorios titles can you name which consist of two obscure names seperated by 'et' or 'and'.
Acis and Galatea
Dido and Aeneas

I can only name two. Now here's the method to my madness. How do you pronounce the various names involved including Pelleas et Melisande?

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by John F » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:38 am

There's nothing "obscure" about Dido and Aeneas, not to me anyway. Certainly less obscure than Tristan (or Tristram) and Isolde (or Iseult), characters in Medieval romance who owe their name recognition to just one opera. :)

There are countless operas with such titles based on love stories that are more or less famous depending on where you live. Surely everyone in CMG knows Schubert's "Alfonso und Estrella," right? Nobody here needs to be told how to pronounce it, I'm sure. Likewise Dukas's "Ariane et Barbe-bleue" and Mozart's "Bastien und Bastienne."

Leili and Mejnun aren't obscure names in Azerbaijan but are hardly household names elsewhere. Among several works based on that story is Uzeir Gajibekov's opera. Pronounce it as it's spelled.

How about "Adel and Mara," by the Croatian composer Josip Hatze? All I know about it is the composer and title. It's been recorded, and discogs.com suggests you buy it to "Complete your Josip Hatze collection." :roll:

I could go on with this, from "Abesalom and Eteri" to "Zémire and Azor," but what's the point?
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:08 am

John F wrote:There's nothing "obscure" about Dido and Aeneas, not to me anyway. Certainly less obscure than Tristan (or Tristram) and Isolde (or Iseult), characters in Medieval romance who owe their name recognition to just one opera. :)

There are countless operas with such titles based on love stories that are more or less famous depending on where you live. Surely everyone in CMG knows Schubert's "Alfonso und Estrella," right? Nobody here needs to be told how to pronounce it, I'm sure. Likewise Dukas's "Ariane et Barbe-bleue" and Mozart's "Bastien und Bastienne."

Leili and Mejnun aren't obscure names in Azerbaijan but are hardly household names elsewhere. Among several works based on that story is Uzeir Gajibekov's opera. Pronounce it as it's spelled.

How about "Adel and Mara," by the Croatian composer Josip Hatze? All I know about it is the composer and title. It's been recorded, and discogs.com suggests you buy it to "Complete your Josip Hatze collection." :roll:

I could go on with this, from "Abesalom and Eteri" to "Zémire and Azor," but what's the point?
Hah. Yes, 'Dido and Aneas' is not obscure. I meant that the names themselves are obscure. Even with today's penchant for finding unusual names for one's offspring, I haven't seen any little Dido's around the neighbourhood.

I had no idea however that there were that so many couples were immortalized as opera titles. Perhaps not so much immortalized, when the opera has been forgotten.

So, indulge me on this. Is it Pell-eee'-as? Or Pell'-eee-as? Or Pell-ay-as? Or Pull-eeze?

German pronunciation is not a problem for me.

I'm not so sure that Tristan und Isolde owe all that much to Wagner in terms of name recognition. The tale does occupy a large section of the Boys' King Arthur and Mallory before that. The answer depends on whether you came to the legend through books or opera, I guess.

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by John F » Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:59 pm

Back when I was a kid, the upstairs neighbors named their Siamese cats Dido and Aeneas. If there had been children instead of cats, who knows? Parents can give their children some extraordinary names. Nicolas Slonimsky named his daughter Electra. And then there are Dweezle and Moon Unit Zappa. So for all I know, there could be a lot of Didos around.

Pelléas is Pell-ay-ahs, equal stress on all four syllables.
slofstra wrote:The tale does occupy a large section of the Boys' King Arthur and Mallory before that.
I never heard of the Boys' King Arthur, but the popularized versions of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table that I did know, didn't mention Tristan and Isolde at all. As for Malory's "Le Mort d'Arthur," which is much more comprehensive than its title, I don't know how many have read it who were not English majors in college, or even who were; I never did, nor apparently did Wagner. I'm one of those who came to the legend through Wagner's opera.
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by lennygoran » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:21 pm

John F wrote:That said, the Met's "Pelléas" in 2017-8 should surpass it, regardless of the cast, if as expected James Levine is in the pit. In this opera he is the master.
Thanks, that's one I'll probably want to see-still how many Melisandes will it have! Regards, Len [fleeing] :lol:

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by John F » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:04 pm

I remember one season the Met had two Mélisandes, but only one at a time. :)
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:00 pm

John F wrote:Back when I was a kid, the upstairs neighbors named their Siamese cats Dido and Aeneas. If there had been children instead of cats, who knows? Parents can give their children some extraordinary names. Nicolas Slonimsky named his daughter Electra. And then there are Dweezle and Moon Unit Zappa. So for all I know, there could be a lot of Didos around.

Pelléas is Pell-ay-ahs, equal stress on all four syllables.
slofstra wrote:The tale does occupy a large section of the Boys' King Arthur and Mallory before that.
I never heard of the Boys' King Arthur, but the popularized versions of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table that I did know, didn't mention Tristan and Isolde at all. As for Malory's "Le Mort d'Arthur," which is much more comprehensive than its title, I don't know how many have read it who were not English majors in college, or even who were; I never did, nor apparently did Wagner. I'm one of those who came to the legend through Wagner's opera.
Pages 123 to 170 in my copy of Sidney Lanier's popular rendering of the Arthurian legends. I wish I had the edition I read as a child, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth. Here is his painting of King Mark slaying Tristram from that edition.

Image

Anyway, I don't mean to deprecate Wagner's opera, which is one of my personal favourites, and I'm not really disagreeing with most of what you say, other than the slight at Mallory. The Tristram and Iseult/ Tristan und Isolde legend is much bigger than Wagner's rendering, especially when you consider its many manifestations world wide for over a millenium and the fact that only a small percentage of the Western world even know of the opera. My point is just that there are only so many great legends and humanity never tires of another incarnation. 'Tristan and Isolde' is one of them. Certainly Wagner chose very wisely. No it's not just an obscure chapter in a college text.
For example, here are the recent movies based on the legend:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_and_Iseult#Films

I'll spare you the list of rock songs and ballads inspired by the same. :)

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by John F » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:52 pm

Well, if you're going into pop songs, there's an English pop singer who calls herself Dido.

http://www.didomusic.com/

Your point, actually, was that Tristan and Isolde are not as uncommon names for present-day real people as I said they are. But how many Tristans or Isoldes can you name?
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:10 pm

John F wrote:Well, if you're going into pop songs, there's an English pop singer who calls herself Dido.

http://www.didomusic.com/

Your point, actually, was that Tristan and Isolde are not as uncommon names for present-day real people as I said they are. But how many Tristans or Isoldes can you name?
LOL. I listened to 90 seconds of one of Dido's songs. She is pleasant, boring, repetitive and sells tons of records, just in case you were interested.

I don't think that was my point about Tristan and Isolde, so I can't really defend it.

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by maestrob » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:38 pm

John F wrote:Well, if you're going into pop songs, there's an English pop singer who calls herself Dido.

http://www.didomusic.com/

Your point, actually, was that Tristan and Isolde are not as uncommon names for present-day real people as I said they are. But how many Tristans or Isoldes can you name?
Actually, my grand-nephew on my mother's side is Tristan. A sweet kid, he's an even-keeled teenager now.

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by John F » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:23 am

I'd no sooner posted my comment than I saw on TV a woman whose first name is Tristan. I'll bet she had a great time in school with that name.

Speaking of operatic names in the real world, Hispanics seem attracted to Verdi's "Aida." Quite a few Latino women are named Aida, and I've seen the name Radames more often than I'd expect.
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:09 am

John F wrote: Quite a few Latino women are named Aida, and I've seen the name Radames more often than I'd expect.
At work we had a secretary named Aida-she pronounced it differently than the way we opera lovers say Aida-for her it was more ada. Regards, Len

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:18 pm

lennygoran wrote:
John F wrote: Quite a few Latino women are named Aida, and I've seen the name Radames more often than I'd expect.
At work we had a secretary named Aida-she pronounced it differently than the way we opera lovers say Aida-for her it was more ada. Regards, Len
Hmm. A bit like the English 'Adelaide' versus the German pronunciation - Ah-da-la-eee'-da.


At the end of each verse.


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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by maestrob » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:23 am

We are friends with a Cuban family: the mother's name is Aida. She pronounces it Ida.

Trujillo (the former dictator of the Dominican Republic) named his children after characters in Verdi's opera: I remember his #1 son was named Rhadames, with similar names for the rest of the offspring. Dominicans love foreign-sounding names, and some strange ones as well. I have a niece there named Katya Ninoska Gil Vilanova, and a distant cousin calls himself Susanno! Katya works for American Airlines at the airport there in Santo Domingo city: she once flew to Italy and, with her Russian name and blond good looks, was immediately detained by the police as a Russian spy!!!! She called the airline and the Dominican embassy and all was put right, but what a harrowing four hours! :lol: :roll:

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:13 am

My Cleaning Lady is called Aida...
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:24 am

I went to the Dress Rehearsal for Pelleas at the Met when Le Rat conducted it.

There was a lunch that I was invited to, but it meant that I had to shake his hand, I felt I could not do that sincerely and so chose not to attend.

Opera was good though. I shot a Jonathan Miller in 1981, wonderful man, incredibly intelligent, had a great time hanging with him.
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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:25 am

Chalkperson wrote: I shot a Jonathan Miller in 1981, wonderful man, incredibly intelligent, had a great time hanging with him.
I like Miller's views on religion but as for opera-that's a different story-still if I ever met him I'd shake his hand. Rattle will be at the Met for the new Tristan-I didn't order a ticket for that but it's not because of Rattle! Regards, Len

Image

And I just found this on Miller-not good. :( Well maybe I won't shake his hand after all.

"But placing Jonathan Miller in such venerated company may not meet with the complete approval of Tom Sutcliffe, the respected opera critic and member of the Church of England General Synod.

Sutcliffe has not always liked Miller’s productions, finding them at times flat and pointlessly clever. One day, he was at the National Gallery with his wife, the author and librettist Meredith Oakes, when they bumped into Miller, who was also there with his doctor wife Rachel.

Miller started ‘yelling at him in the middle of the National Gallery, where everyone in the room slowly turned to gaze at this uncatalogued display of fury. Rachel attempted to blend with the wallpaper while he (Miller) explained to Sutcliffe’s remonstrating wife that he wanted her husband dead’. Miller did tell his biographer: ‘I think I phoned later to apologise.’

Another extraordinary incident that left bystanders gaping was a furious altercation Miller had with a young man in a Chelsea cinema whom he did not realise was Paul Raphael, the son of his old Cambridge friend, the distinguished author and screenwriter Frederic Raphael.

Miller couldn’t resist making comments out loud during a screening of one of the Godfather films, and Paul Raphael, clearly recognising the ‘Renaissance man’, rebuked him on the way out for his ‘Renaissance yob behaviour’.

As Raphael strolled away, Miller charged angrily after him along the road and shoved a £20 note at him by way of a cinema refund, shouting: ‘Take that you c***.’ Miller later admitted he was ashamed of having lost his temper, but he didn’t retract the foul, four-letter word."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... itain.html

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:43 am

lennygoran wrote:
Chalkperson wrote: I shot a Jonathan Miller in 1981, wonderful man, incredibly intelligent, had a great time hanging with him.
I like Miller's views on religion but as for opera-that's a different story-still if I ever met him I'd shake his hand. Rattle will be at the Met for the new Tristan-I didn't order a ticket for that but it's not because of Rattle! Regards, Len
Here's an interview with Rattle and two of the principals regarding a recent performance of Tristan in Berlin.

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/22405

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:49 pm

slofstra wrote:
Here's an interview with Rattle and two of the principals regarding a recent performance of Tristan in Berlin.

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/22405
I clicked on the link but when I tried to get to the interview and clicked on this nothing happened.

"Sir Simon Rattle on Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” (00:36:37)"

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:30 am

lennygoran wrote:
slofstra wrote:
Here's an interview with Rattle and two of the principals regarding a recent performance of Tristan in Berlin.

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/concert/22405
I clicked on the link but when I tried to get to the interview and clicked on this nothing happened.

"Sir Simon Rattle on Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” (00:36:37)"

I went to the page just now, and indeed, the links are all dead. I'll send them a note to see what happened.

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:49 pm

slofstra wrote:

I went to the page just now, and indeed, the links are all dead. I'll send them a note to see what happened.
Thanks! Regards, Len

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by barney » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:34 pm

John F wrote:Back when I was a kid, the upstairs neighbors named their Siamese cats Dido and Aeneas. If there had been children instead of cats, who knows? Parents can give their children some extraordinary names. Nicolas Slonimsky named his daughter Electra. And then there are Dweezle and Moon Unit Zappa. So for all I know, there could be a lot of Didos around.

Pelléas is Pell-ay-ahs, equal stress on all four syllables.
slofstra wrote:The tale does occupy a large section of the Boys' King Arthur and Mallory before that.
I never heard of the Boys' King Arthur, but the popularized versions of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table that I did know, didn't mention Tristan and Isolde at all. As for Malory's "Le Mort d'Arthur," which is much more comprehensive than its title, I don't know how many have read it who were not English majors in college, or even who were; I never did, nor apparently did Wagner. I'm one of those who came to the legend through Wagner's opera.
I read it as a child John, though obviously not the original. Because it's 50 years ago I can't remember the book now (possibly it was the Boys' King Arthur, though I don't remember that title), but it was adapted for children and included Tristan and Isolde. I loved (and still do) historical fiction, though as I age I no longer persevere when a book is clearly substandard but lay it aside - so much to read, so little time.

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by barney » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:37 pm

My stepson is Tristan. I had no role in naming him -from my wife's first marriage. Apparently it means "noisy one", and his parents were prescient. Talented musician.

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by slofstra » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:48 am

lennygoran wrote:
slofstra wrote:

I went to the page just now, and indeed, the links are all dead. I'll send them a note to see what happened.
Thanks! Regards, Len
Len, they responded and said to use the following link.

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/interview/22405-4

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Re: Pelleas et Mélisande in Aix

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:30 am

slofstra wrote:
Len, they responded and said to use the following link.

https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/interview/22405-4
Henry thanks-that link worked! Regards, Len

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