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Bartók - Bluebeard’s Castle

Composer Béla Bartók
Performer Mika Kares
Géza Szilvay
Szilvia Vörös
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Susanna Mälkki, conductor
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-2388 SACD
EAN 7318599923888
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Mar 2021
Total time 60'30

Composed in 1911, Bluebeard’s Castle is Béla Bartók’s only opera – a radical masterpiece which has secured a place alongside the other innovative music dramas of the same period, from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande to Berg’s Wozzeck. Planning to write a one-act opera, Bartók settled on a libretto by Béla Balázs with the kind of surreal and/or macabre themes that would soon feature in his two ballets, The Wooden Prince and The Miraculous Mandarin. &&&The main source for the libretto text was a play by Maeterlinck, a retelling of Perrault’s gruesome tale of Barbe-Bleue, the sinister yet strangely seductive wife-killer.

Balázs turned the drama into what he called a ‘mystery play’, however, and his stylisation of the story throws the weight of the drama onto stage-setting and music. The single act centres on the successive opening of the castle’s seven doors, and Bartók’s music brings across the horrors of the blood-drenched torture chamber, the steely power of the armoury and the glitter of jewels in the treasury as well as the interplay of increasingly feverish questionings from Judit and defiant responses from Bluebeard. Susanna Mälkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra have already proved their Bartók credentials with a disc of his ballet scores which was chosen as Record of the Week in BBC Radio 3 Record Review and earned top marks in Diapason and on the website Klassik-Heute. Joined by Mika Kares as Duke Bluebeard and his Judit, the Hungarian mezzo-soprano Szilvia Vörös, the team here performs Bartók’s darkly glittering, shimmering and threatening score in a live recording from 2020.
Choose format
  Béla Bartók
  Bluebeard’s Castle, Op. 11 / BB 62 59'54
01 Prologue: ‘Haj regő rejtem’ 1'56
02 Opening Scene: ‘Megérkeztünk’ 13'42
03 First Door: ‘Jaj!’ - ‘Mit látsz? Mit látsz?’ 4'18
04 Second Door: ‘Mit látsz?’ - ‘Száz kegyetlen szörnyű fegyver’ 4'13
05 Third Door: ‘Oh, be sok kincs!’ 2'24
06 Fourth Door: ‘Oh! Virágok! Oh! Illatos kert!’ 4'45
07 Fifth Door: ‘Ah!’ - ‘Lásd ez az én birodalmam’ 6'32
08 Sixth Door: ‘Csendes fehér tavat látok’ 12'44
09 Seventh Door: ‘Lásd a régi aszszonyokat’ 9'20
  Album total 60'30
NarratorSzilvay, Géza
ComposerBartók, Béla
OrchestraHelsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
ConductorMälkki, Susanna
Mezzo-sopranoVörös, Szilvia
BaritoneKares, Mika

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