Experience an innovative and unexpected take on a classic with “Pelléas et Mélisande,” an adaptation of French composer Claude Debussy’s poignant symbolist opera created by a team of Virginia Tech faculty and students from across disciplines, along with special guest artists.
The Moss Arts Center presents two performances of the work on Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at 7 p.m. The performances are available as streamed and as in-person events. In-person performances will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.
“Pelléas et Mélisande” has captivated audiences since its Paris premiere in 1902. Based on a play by Maurice Maeterlink, the work is a symbolist psycho-drama that dissolves time and space. Using immersive recordings, projections, and unusual costumes and scenery, the Virginia Tech creative team re-imagines this masterwork, offering a 75-minute English-language version of the opera that pares the story down to its essentials.
The creative team originally intended for the production to be performed in the standard format, which includes singers performing the work live on a set. In order to create a performance that could be attended live, however, the team reimagined its concept to create a COVID-safe performance space. The singers were recorded in April, and actors will portray the characters on the immersive set while wearing larger-than-life costume masks. The end result will be reminiscent of Kabuki theatre and create a product that completely embraces the symbolist opera.
Prior to the performance on Friday, June 25, Richard Masters, associate professor of piano and collaborative piano in the School of Performing Arts, will deliver a pre-concert lecture in the Moss Arts Center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at 6 p.m. Using examples from Debussy’s piano and vocal repertoire, Masters will discuss the influences of orientalism and exoticism on the music of Debussy. This in-person event is free, but registration is required.
Tickets for in-person performances are $20 for general admission and $10 for Virginia Tech students. Tickets for the streamed performances are $10 and free for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
Individuals who need an accommodation may contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org during regular business hours.
Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. When not staffed for a special event, visitors may park in the garage by taking a ticket at entry and paying with Visa or Mastercard upon exit. In addition, Virginia Tech has partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at or any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.