Most conductors choose something splashy yet conventional with which to make their Metropolitan Opera debut. Not Sir Simon Rattle. The British conductor finally appears at the Met in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, an elusive, symbol-laden opera built around a love triangle about unhappy people trapped in an ominous world of shadow and foreboding. This one-of-a-kind opera is a Rattle specialty, and playing the role of Mélisande is his wife, the mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena.
Baritone Stephane Degout plays the role of Pelleas; mezzo Felicity Palmer is Geneviève, tenor Gerald Finley is Golaud; Willard White plays King Arkel and boy soprano Neel Ram Nagarajan as Golaud's son, Yniold
"It's full of shadows, it's full of insinuations," Rattle recently told WQXR's Jeff Spurgeon. "It doesn't hit you dead on. It's also one of the most affecting and most emotional operas. It has a very, very special atmosphere."