Pelléas et Mélisande
Victorian Opera 2018 at The Palais, St Kilda
Costume & Set Design
Composer Claude Debussy
Librettist Maurice Maeterlinck
Conductor Richard Mills
Director Elizabeth Hill
Set and Costume Design Candice MacAllister
Lighting Design Joseph Mercurio
"Designer Candice MacAllister also uses spatial ambiguity to represent human disconnection with a simple set dominated by three bay windows. They are frequently rotated, mirrored interior to darkly transparent exterior, by three dancers (who also silently, graciously carry out other practical yet dramatically notable tasks throughout). Behind these window structures, long, sheer white curtains are staggered, acting as screens for colourful, atmospheric lighting, before falling suddenly at significant moments toward the end.
MacAllister’s costumes are vaguely medieval, but like everything about this opera it’s impossible to pin down, so Mélisande wears shoes of a much later period, for example. There are some gorgeous brocades, and Stagg’s three delicate gowns are of pale lace with touches of shimmering beading, but there are also some restrained costumes, and all are in support of character more than mere visual delight."
Patricia Maunder, Limelight Magazine
"Designer Candice MacAllister makes a highly auspicious mainstage debut with Pelléas and Mélisande, collaborating closely with director Hill and lighting designer Joseph Mercurio to deftly balance naturalism and symbolism. MacAllister furnishes the stage with three beautifully antiqued units, which rotate to serve as interior and exterior settings. The windows create multiple reflections, connecting to the opera’s theme of water. The sets are backed by towering sheer gossamer curtains, which ultimately come to symbolize life itself.
Making wonderful use of brocade and lace, MacAllister has crafted costumes that are gorgeous while still being understated. Despite the passing of time, characters remain in their signature outfits, aiding audience identification in the cavernous auditorium. Mélisande changes costume after interval, emerging in a stunning paler than pale pink fitted gown with delicate lace overlay."
Simon Parris, Man in Chair