James Conlon to Celebrate Debussy in Los Angeles

By David Salazar

James Conlon is set to curate a series of events that explore the music of Debussy.

“Discovering Debussy” will take place between March 1- April 16 and will include the collaboration of such institutions as Colburn School, The Hammer Museum, LA Opera, Norton Simon Museum, The Opera League of Los Angeles, and The Ebell of Los Angeles. At the center of all is a series of performance of “Pelléas et Mélisande” at the LA Opera between March 25 – April 16, 2023.

Other major events including “Opera for Educators: ‘Pelléas et Mélisande’” on March 4 as well as another related event by The Opera League of Los Angeles on March 7. The Ebell of Los Angeles will also present “Impressions of ‘Pelléas.’”

This last event reimagines the opera for five singers and two pianists and will feature members of the LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. The artists include Deepa Johnny, Madeleine Lyon, Anthony Leon, Ryan Wolfe,  and Alan Williams.

“Harking back to the ‘Britten 100/LA’ in 2013 and the ‘Ring Festival’ in 2010, I would like to pay a deep personal homage to Claude Debussy, a composer who was, amongst many other things, a connective thread between Wagner, whose profound influence helped to inform his genius, and Benjamin Britten, who benefited greatly from the paths he had opened to twentieth century music,” said Conlon in an official press statement. “’Pelléas et Mélisande’ is one of those rare works that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, for which there is no substitute. If it possesses you, as it has me from the time of my adolescence, it is for life. Its magic is irreplaceable, its embrace so personal, almost private, that words are inadequate. I would like to introduce many new listeners to its addictive power, that they might feel as I do.”