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The Stars of the White Nights 2020
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Opera Duke Bluebeard`s Castle
World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - established 1783

Running time: 1 hour


Schedule for Duke Bluebeard`s Castle 2020

Composer: Bela Bartok
Stage Director: Daniel Kramer

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra

Bela Bartok's opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle was originally staged for the English National Opera, where it was successfully presented last season. Exchange of productions is a frequent practice among the world opera companies, as it allows to share experiences between colleagues and to expand the audience of our viewers, presenting the best examples of productions of “proven” value. For example, our production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw went to the stage of English National Opera and was enthusiastically received by audiences in London.
It is noteworthy that Bartok’s opera is sung in Hungarian, a language that is relatively rare used in the genre of opera. The language is quite difficult to learn and pronounce, so it is particularly important how well soloists will be able to reveal its beauty and charm of sound.

Duke Bluebeard's_Castle (opera)

Production by the English National Opera


Synopsis

Judith and Bluebeard arrive at his castle, which is all dark. Bluebeard asks Judith if she wants to stay and even offers her an opportunity to leave, but she decides to stay. Judith insists that all the doors be opened, to allow light to enter into the forbidding interior, insisting further that her demands are based on her love for Bluebeard. Bluebeard refuses, saying that they are private places not to be explored by others, and asking Judith to love him but ask no questions. Judith persists, and eventually prevails over his resistance.

The first door opens to reveal a torture chamber, stained with blood. Repelled, but then intrigued, Judith pushes on. Behind the second door is a storehouse of weapons, and behind the third a storehouse of riches. Bluebeard urges her on. Behind the fourth door is a secret garden of great beauty; behind the fifth, a window onto Bluebeard's vast kingdom. All is now sunlit, but blood has stained the riches, watered the garden, and grim clouds throw blood-red shadows over Bluebeard's kingdom.

Bluebeard pleads with her to stop: the castle is as bright as it can get, and will not get any brighter, but Judith refuses to be stopped after coming this far, and opens the penultimate sixth door, as a shadow passes over the castle. This is the first room that has not been somehow stained with blood; a silent silvery lake is all that lies within, "a lake of tears". Bluebeard begs Judith to simply love him, and ask no more questions. The last door must be shut forever. But she persists, asking him about his former wives, and then accusing him of having murdered them, suggesting that their blood was the blood everywhere, that their tears were those that filled the lake, and that their bodies lie behind the last door. At this, Bluebeard hands over the last key.

Behind the door are Bluebeard's three former wives, but still alive, dressed in crowns and jewellery. They emerge silently, and Bluebeard, overcome with emotion, prostrates himself before them and praises each in turn, finally turning to Judith and beginning to praise her as his fourth wife. She is horrified, begs him to stop, but it is too late. He dresses her in the jewellery they wear, which she finds exceedingly heavy. Her head drooping under the weight, she follows the other wives along a beam of moonlight through the seventh door. It closes behind her, and Bluebeard is left alone as all fades to total darkness.





Schedule for Duke Bluebeard`s Castle 2020


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