In Pelleas and Melisande, which adapts Claude Debussy's opera that is itself adapted from a story of doomed love by Maurice Mäterlinck, as well as his adaptation of Richard Strauss's Salomé, Russell creates illustrations featuring art nouveau elements popular during the late nineteenth century. Published first as comic-book series, these works were eventually produced as individual graphic novels, and more recently have been included as volumes in the P. Craig Russell Library of Opera Adaptations. A contributor for Publishers Weekly had high praise for The Magic Flute, writing: "Sure and confident, Russell's art switches from tense action sequences to slapstick without missing a beat." The same reviewer thought Russell also strikes "just the right tones" with his dialogue, and concluded that this "classic adaptation displays the artist's skill at both writing and illustrating." Steve Raiteri, reviewing Volume I of the series, dubbed Russell's artwork "marvelous," noting that the illustrator blends "realistic figures with decorative backgrounds."
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