Best Of 2018

Best Payoff for Perseverance in a Classical Music Setting: Pelléas et Mélisande

C’est fini! Three years ago, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s music director Louis Langrée introduced the three-year Pelléas Project devoted to music inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck’s Symbolist play Pelléas et Mélisande, with staging by James Darrah. While the first two installments were musically superb, Darrah’s visual ideas were blasted by audiences and critics. But the CSO and Darrah hit it out of the park last October with Debussy’s ethereal opera Pelléas et Mélisande. Langrée’s devotion to this piece was conveyed in the beautifully detailed performances by vocal and instrumental forces; Darrah’s staging literally surrounded the orchestra with lighting. Music Hall’s vastly improved acoustics added to the pleasure of fully appreciating the subtle textures of this masterpiece. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, cincinnatisymphony.org.