Siobhan Stagg spoke to  Limelight  during pre-production on  Pelléas et Mélisande

M y first real encounter with Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisandewas at the Hamburg State Opera a couple of years ago, with Simone Young conducting. I remember being totally captivated by Christiane Karg as Mélisande. The production was classic, beautiful and told the story, and I was just blown away.

I preface that by saying there must have been an encounter beforehand. I was sorting through boxes of CDs at my parents’ house and was amazed to find I’ve got the Karajan recording with the Berlin Philharmoniker and Frederica von Stade as Mélisande. I don’t remember buying it, but I must have seen it in a shop as a student and thought, “that’s something I should listen to at some point”, and then just put it away. It’s been a blessing to have found it.

Siobhan Stagg, Pelleas and Melisande, Victorian Opera Siobhan Stagg. Photo © Simon Pauly 

I’ve coached the piece with the music staff in each city that I’ve been in over the last few months and fortunately, because it’s 100 years since Debussy’s death, everyone’s doing it....