page from Pelléas
Page from Pelléas (click to enlarge)

Just in time for the anniversary of the first performance of Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande (premiered April 30, 1902), here’s a look at the 1907 revised edition of the vocal score. Debussy made numerous changes to the score over his lifetime: the interludes in the 1907 version are longer, to accomodate scene changes; and the alternate tenor line for Pelléas, notated in red ink overtop of the original baritone line, was taken from one of Debussy’s manuscript revisions of the opera.

Typewritten note from publisher
Correspondence from Durand
& fils (click to enlarge)

This copy belonged to the singer Antonin Trantoul (1887-1966); the annotations in red and blue pencil throughout the score may be his. Tipped-in correspondence from the publisher, A. Durand & fils, reveals a bit more of the performance history of the tenor version, and hints at Trantoul’s search for that edition of the opera.

The complete vocal score, as well as many other works by Debussy, are part of our collection of Digital Scores and Libretti.

– Kerry Masteller