About Pelleas and Melisande

October 14, 16, 17, 18

Debussy's telling of this quite refined story of adultery is one of opera's greatest masterpieces. Its dark drama exploits the natural and emotional atmospheres offered by Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolist play that is its libretto.

The opera as we now know it glories in the swelling sonorities of a post-Romantic orchestra. A production of Pelleas and Melisande challenges the technical resources of the world's most advanced theaters. But Debussy’s operatic masterpiece started out in 1895 as a piano score. It was not orchestrated until many years later!  Thus, Floating Opera New York presents the piece in its original form, with piano!

Piano previews of Pelleas and Melisande were offered in the poet Stéphane Mallarmé's salon, an intimate platform where avant-garde artists, poets and musicians explored the depths of symbolist thought. There exists a photo of Debussy at a small piano droit (an upright) in this brilliant salon. One can easily imagine the sounds of musically accomplished singers gathered around this piano coping with the demands of Debussy's experimental operatic narrative. 

Pelleas et Melisande comes early in the Debussy oeuvre (as does his magical Clair de la lune). The young composer first heard the gloriously rich musical continuum that creates the vague shadows of Maeterlinck’s symbolist world in the sounds of a piano — placing this magnificent instrument firmly at the center of this new operatic poetic. Maeterink and Debussy intended a most clear language for their libretto, and in the spirit of this clear and direct language our production will be in English.

The brilliant proto-Pelleas first heard in a Paris salon now comes to the salon of a barge in port, in Brooklyn’s artistically charged Red Hook. It is an exquisitely exciting theatrical space and place which evokes the moods of vanishing ships, dark wells and deep caves that create the dark fate that looms in the irrational world of symbolism.



Eric Kramer, Conductor/Pianist

Conductor, composer, and pianist Eric Kramer serves as music director of Collegium Westchester and assistant conductor with Bronx Opera where he has conducted numerous opening night performances, including several New York premieres. He has guest conducted the Westchester Chorale, and the Chappaqua Orchestra in a joint concert with Collegium Westchester. In Europe Mr. Kramer has conducted the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Opéra National de Lyon, as assistant to Iván Fischer. He has guest conducted the Berlin Sinfonietta; the Sorrento International Music Festival orchestra; the Bohuslav Martinů, Moravian, Plovdiv,  and Ruse Philharmonics; the Kroměříž and Solti Chamber Orchestras; and the Ukrainian State Academic Symphony Concert Orchestra in performance and/or recording.  He has served as chorus director for the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera and the Connecticut Grand Opera, and coach/pianist and education tour music director for the Virginia Opera. He received a Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Career
Development Grant for 2008-09.

Christopher Herbert, Pelleas

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This season he performs the title role in Handel’s Saul at Trinity Wall Street’s Twelfth Night Festival, solos with The San Francisco Symphony and The American Classical Orchestra, and remounts Winterize – an outdoor adaptation of Winterreise with transistor radios. Last season, he reprised the title role in The War Reporter at the Prototype Festival and performed concerts and recitals throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Mr. Herbert has won awards from the Sullivan Foundation, Gérard Souzay Competition and Kurt Weill Foundation and has performed at Tanglewood, Lincoln Center, Wolf Trap, Central City Opera, Music Academy of the West, Rheingau Festival, Wigmore Hall, Stifskonzerte Oberösterreich, Berliner Dom and Thüringer Bachwochen. He is holds a B.A. in Music from Yale University and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. Mr. Herbert is a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School and is the baritone in the critically acclaimed ensemble New York Polyphony.

Aude Cardona,  Melisande

Aude Cardona has sung Mozart's Requiem with the Orchestre Coruscant conducted by Sophie Boucheron. She recently sang the role of Nicklausse with Vocal Productions NYC and the role of Komponist with Utopia Opera in New York as well. Aude's ability to improvise vocally has led her to collaborations with the contemporary pop artists Kanye West, Jay Z, John Legend and the band Fun, as well as as jazz saxophonist Tim Ries.  Recently Aude performed works by Schütz, Schein and Telemann with Michel Laplénie (Ensemble Sagittarius)  France. Her future engagements include a Berlin recital of Brahms’s music with a chamber ensemble, a french melody recital with pianist Matthieu Cognet in NYC and a tour of italian and french early music with Harmonia Sacra and their Opéra Bus throughout France. Aude is a native of France.

Sidney Outlaw, Golaud


Sidney Outlaw was the Grand Prize winner of the Concurso Internacional de Canto Montserrat Caballe in 2010. A graduate of the Merola Opera Program and the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, this rising American baritone from Brevard, North Carolina recently added a GRAMMY nomination to his list of accomplishments for the Naxos Records recording of Darius Milhaud’s 1922 opera trilogy, L’Orestie d’Eschyle in which he sang the role of Apollo. In the 2014-2015 season, Mr. Outlaw joined the Metropolitan Opera’s production of The Death of Klinghoffer. He also performed thrice with Carnegie Hall: in Haydn’s The Creation and Handel’s Messiah, both staged by the Oratorio Society of New York. He made his debut last spring with the Atlanta Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and he recently sang the title role in Moses with the American Symphony Orchestra. Future seasons will see him as Dandini in La Cenerentola with Greensboro Opera, appearances with the Charlotte Symphony and Colour of Music Festival, his Spoleto Festival debut, and a return to the New York Philharmonic. He holds degrees from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and The Juilliard School.

Paul Goodwin-Groen, Arkel

Paul Goodwin-Groen is a versatile artist capable of straddling between early music, standard classical and modern repertoires. His impressive stature and presence, combined with friendly demeanor, make him a popular member of any production. In recent seasons, Mr. Goodwin-Groen has appeared with Opera Piccola of San Antonio as General de la Barca in Rodriguez’s La Curandera and Colas in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne, and with Operamission he performed as Claudio in Agrippina. As an international artist in Sydney, Australia he sang Sarastro in The Magic Flute with Pacific Opera, Jupiter in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux with Pinchgit Opera, Talpa in Il Tabarro with Sydney Independent Opera, the title role in Saul with Sydney University Choirs, The Officer in Glass’ In the Penal Colony with Sydney Chamber Opera, The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas with the Macau International Music Festival, Ford in Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love with the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra, and Conan/Grimbald in Purcell's King Arthur with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

Jazmin DeRice, Genevieve

Jazmin has performed with many opera companies in the Northeast. Recently she performed the roles of Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos with Utopia Opera, Modestina in l Viaggio a Reims with Mannes Opera, the title role of Carmen with City Theater of Maine, and Hansel in a Bunraku-style puppet opera of Hansel and Gretel at Mayo Street Arts Theater of Portland, Main an she covered the role of Nancy in Albert Herring with Bronx Opera. Jazmin received her professional studies diploma from Mannes.

Caroline Loeb, Yniold

Caroline Rose Loeb is a 2nd year vocal student at the pre-college division of The Juilliard School studying under Lorraine Nubar.  She has trained and performed with Curtis Summerfest, l'Académie Internationale d'été de Nice, and Summer Opera at Walnut Hill.  Previous to her studies at The Juilliard School, she studied with Valentin Peytchinov. Caroline is junior at Little Red Elizabeth Irwin High School, is a triplet, lives in NYC and has dog named Chupa. This is her professional opera debut.

Brett Vogel, Doctor


Brett Harrison Vogel is a recent graduate from the Masters program of the Manhattan School of Music. Originally hailing from Georgia, Brett has spent the last few year exploring the various architecture of New York City and amassing a vinyl record collection. Brett's previous credits include Seneca in L'incoronazione di Poppea, Palemon in Thaïs, Silvano in La Calisto, Suleyman Pasha in The Ghosts of Versailes, Dick Deadeye in H.M.S Pinafare and Pistola in Falstaff.