This first comprehensive guide to Debussy's only completed opera, Pelléas et Mélisande was written by the leading authorities on French music of the period. As a background to the opera, the authors, together with David Grayson, discuss various aspects of the play. They consider its literary roots, trace its genesis and composition, and illuminate Debussy's compositional strategies. A detailed synopsis of Debussy's musical response to the text forms a central chapter. This is followed by an examination of the symbols and musical motives employed by Debussy as well as an analysis of his themes. The book concludes with a detailed bibliography and a discography.