Susanna Mälkki’s musical direction, with its rather calm tempos and its attention to details and colors, maintains the atmosphere of a waking dream.

Les Echos

Philippe Venturini

Photo: Pelléas et Mélisande at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2024 © Jean-Louis Fernandez

“Susanna Mälkki’s musical direction, with its rather calm tempos and its attention to details and colors, maintains the atmosphere of a waking dream.”

Les Echos

“Si el fenómeno y no los hechos importan en esta ópera, entonces merecerá recordar por mucho tiempo el trabajo de unos intérpretes decididamente sobresalientes. Empezando por Susanna Mälkki, capaz, por acción de esos milagros difíciles de comprender, de convertir a la misma orquesta de la Ópera de Lyon en una bruma sonora capaz de expandirse y circular con una claridad insospechada. Su propuesta musical alcanza lo milagroso y raya lo inaudito, en el límite del desfallecimiento en muchos momentos y siempre arropando la acción, cuidando las voces y esa estructura ‘sin forma’ que tanto molestó a muchos de los contemporáneos de Debussy.”

ABC Cultura

“Was die finnische Dirigentin Susanna Mälkki (die das Pult von ihrem Landsmann Esa Pekka-Salonen übernommen hat) an dramatischer Delikatesse aus dem Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon herausholte”

Neu Musikzeitung

“Doublement mis à contribution cette année (Madame Butterfly et Pelléas et Mélisande), l’Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Lyon est placé sous la direction d’une habituée du Festival d’Aix : Susanna Mälkki. De gestes généreux et savamment pesés, la cheffe finlandaise conduit avec force et cohérence l’exécution d’une partition qui exige une attention à tous les détails de la musique et aux multiples couleurs que Claude Debussy parvient à tirer de l’orchestre. Les nuances sont particulièrement dosées, chaque départ donné avec soin aux chanteurs, dans une écriture rythmique des parties chantées qui comporte de nombreux pièges. ”


“…Susanna Mälkki, maestra de los timbres y precisa y elegante en todo momento, dejando tocar a la orquesta y cantar a los personajes en una obra que debe avanzar con la misma fluidez e imprevisibilidad con que las olas acaban muriendo en la orilla.”

El País

“ Susanna Mälkkis Klangfantasie erscheint unerschöpflich, sie zeigt unverblümt, wie Debussy aus „Tristan“, Verdi und „Parsifal“ seine Klangträumereien ableitet.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Conductor Susanna Mälkki brings a selfless musicality and vision to the podium that recalls Bernard Haitink — control without ego, and a combination of lush fluidity with structural rigour that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Hers is unquestionably the finest opera conducting of this year’s festival, and the orchestra of the Lyon Opera plays ravishingly well for her.”

Financial Times

“Susanna Mälkki’s direction makes the score a waking dream, lucid, on the lookout for the slightest emotional jolts of the sung words. The baton makes vertical and precise back-and-forth movements, measured in the pit, launched on stage to find the balance between control and spontaneity.”


“As for the musical direction of Susanna Mälkki, at the head of the Lyon orchestra, it follows in a dazzling way the intentions expressed in his time by Debussy who wrote: ” I wanted the action to never stop, to be continuous, uninterrupted. The melody is anti-lyrical. It is powerless to translate the mobility of souls and of life. I have never consented to my music rushing or delaying, as a result of technical requirements, the movement of the feelings and passions of my characters. It fades away as soon as it is appropriate that it leaves them complete freedom of their gestures, their cries, their joy or their pain. ”And this results in a masterpiece of emotion carried by an exceptional ensemble.”

La Provence

“The Lyon Opera Orchestra demonstrated with a very high level of performance the influence that the baton that conducts it can have on an orchestral sound. […] I have no doubt that it is due to the expert direction of one of the most interesting, professional and outstanding batons of today: that of Susanna Mälkki. Once again the Finnish conductor demonstrated with that elegant and precise gesture that characterizes her that she can raise a musical structure as special as Pelléas to the point of admiration and, above all, respect for a job well done, without publicity displays, without media noise, with perseverance and professionalism. It was a privilege for everyone, singers, musicians and audiences, to have had her on the podium.”

Platea Magazine

“Sous la direction musicale de Susanna Mälkki, la partition de Debussy, avec ses contrastes et sa fluidité, emporte le mélomane dans des zones subtiles, délicates ou violentes.”

Midi Libre

“The best was a revival: Katie Mitchell’s masterful production of Claude Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande”, in which the girl from the forest goes through a perverse dream in a labyrinth of moving spaces and lost passions. Produced in 2016, it has now returned to Aix with a new cast; with a conductor at the podium, Susanna Mälkki, who fluidly adjusts every note, every progression, every breath. Remember: what is good can always be improved. The old Bayreuth work-in-progress idea is also alive again in Aix.”