Shadows into Light: Exploring Debussy’s “Pelleas et Melisande”

Lecture Series

March 23, 2014

3:00 - 5:00pm

Assembly Hall

Renowned baritone Richard Stilwell presents a lecture recital reflecting on his storied career with this oft-revered, seldom-heard operatic masterwork.


Not seen in Chicago since the early 1990s, the dreamlike atmosphere and mythic setting of Debussy's opera can seem esoteric or maddening. With hazy harmonies and symbolic language, where does one even begin to understand the action, much less the music? Guided by Stilwell, with musical performances provided by members of VOX 3 Collective, this not-to-miss event unlocks one of the first major modern works in style and substance.


Performers include baritone Brian von Rueden as Pelléas, and soprano Laura Pinto as Mélisande. Pianist Myron Silberstein will accompany.


Hailed by The New York Times as "representative of the best type of American singing actor," Richard Stilwell has appeared regularly with the major opera companies of the United States and Europe. His performances have taken him to La Scala, Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro de la Zarzuela Madrid, the Holland Festival, and Glyndebourne Festival, as well as the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Washington, St. Louis, Seattle, and Metropolitan Operas in the United States. Stilwell has collaborated with Leopold Stokowski, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Colin Davis, Andre Previn, James Conlin, and Lorin Maezel. His recordings include “Le nozze di Figaro” (Haitink), “Pelléas et Mélisande” (von Karajan), the CBS “Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria” by Monteverdi, and both “Messiah” and the Brahms’ “Ein deutsches Requiem” with the Atlanta Symphony (Robert Shaw). Stilwell also appears in the Unitel film of “Falstaff” with Sir Georg Solti, and on the soundtrack of the Academy award winning film, “Amadeus”.


As Artistic Director for VOX 3 Collective, Brian von Rueden programmed over 50 and sang on more than 30 recitals in the company’s first six seasons, each with a different cultural or thematic focus. As a singer, Von Rueden has appeared in various opera roles, most recently the title role in Krása’s Brundibár. Soprano Laura Pinto has captured the attention of audiences in the U.S. and Canada for her thoughtful interpretations of vocal music in a wide range of styles. On the operatic stage, she has performed a variety of roles including Poppea (Agrippina, Handel), #1 (Tranformations, Susa), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Phyllis (Iolanthe), Le Rossignol (L’enfant et les sortilèges), and Maria (West Side Story).


This event is open to the public.  Advance tickets are $10 and available on Eventbrite.


Presented by the International House Global Voices Performing Arts Series and VOX 3 Collective.