KapoorTo La Monnaie this evening for another portrayal of inexorable destiny – this time Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, with a libretto drawn by Debussy himself from Maurice Materlink’s symbolist play (about doomed love) of the same name.  There was a sense of a circle in this performance, since the first foreign performance of Debussy’s revolutionary work was at La Monnaie (on 9 January 1907). There was also a sense of déjà vu inasmuch as Sandrine Piau, who was supposed to play Mélisande, had fallen on the set and injured herself, so she sang (beautifully) from the wings, whilst Monica Bacelli mutely acted her role on stage. Somehow, it worked well, with Bacelli’s portrayal conveying the mute suffering of her character. That Piau had fallen was maybe not so much of a surprise, since the action takes place around a most beautiful Anish Kapoor set design (see the picture) which, on a turntable and with varying lighting, effectively portrayed the various places (a forest, a castle, a rockpool) where the action is supposed to be occurring. Under Pierre Audi’s direction, Golaud (Mélisande’s husband) is portrayed as a psycho-sadist (convincingly acted by Dietrich Henschel). The key turning point in the drama, when Mélisande (earlier described by Arkel as having ‘the strange, bewildered look of someone constantly awaiting a calamity’) and her brother-in-law, Pelléas, finally admit their (unrequited) love for one another was brilliantly done: ‘Tout est perdu,’ Pelléas sings, ‘Tout est sauvé!‘ Exile is no longer an option. His fate is sealed. ‘If I were God,’ Arkel declares, ‘I would have pity on the hearts of men.’