"In general, Pelléas et Mélisande is rightly recognized as a masterpiece. There are some who go so far as to claim that it is the greatest opera ever composed. It certainly is among the most influential. However it is also one of the more difficult to understand even by an uneducated audience. Even an audience familiar with opera in general may find it opaque, just as the composer intended. It is by design vague and impressionistic, with only the music providing some elucidation of the text.
Thomson Smillie offers the key to understanding this difficult story. For anyone that has any interest in this opera, this is a valuable disc."