Wishing to avoid imitating Wagner's dramatic and orchestral forces, Debussy found the symbolist play Pelléas et Mélisande by the Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck to his liking. The ambiguous and ethereal prose allowed him to compose an elusive musical complement to the rhythms of the French text. The result is a dreamy and perplexing work devoid of arias, yet full of intense emotions, most scarcely hinted at, allowing others to soar.
There are many recordings of this opera. Jordan's is well-regarded for the idiomatic, subtle and polished performance with the advantage of an all-French cast.