Though the spaciousness of Casadesus’s sensitive and poetic reading means that the Naxos set stretches to three discs rather than two, the result is most compelling with fresh, young voices helping to make the drama more involving. Mireille Delusch is a bright and girlish Mélisande, well matched against the high baritone of Gérard Theruel as a boyish Pelléas. The others are first rate too, including the veteran, Gabriel Bacquier, aptly sounding old as Arkel. The voices are to the fore in the recording with every work made clear, and the orchestra, with a modest brand of strings, adds to the chamber-scale intimacy. The libretto comes in French only, but with good notes and a synopsis in English. An outstanding bargain nevertheless.
"The present performance has the advantage of particularly fine singers throughout the cast, and a conductor who clearly loves this magical score...Armand Arapian [Golaud] enters into the role with a sensitivity and thoroughness born of considerable experience"