Barrie Kosky‘s production premiered at the Frankfurt Opera in 2010/2011 and, after an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013, is now revived in Frankfurt starting October 13.
Bluebeard’s Castle is a one-act opera by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók on a libretto by Béla Balázs, composed in 1911.
Based on the tale of Barbe bleue by Charles Perrault, the opera features two characters, Judith and Bluebeard.
After their wedding, Judith follows her husband Bluebeard to his castle. There is a dark, sinister atmosphere: seven doors contain dark secrets. Little by little, Judith manages to open all doors. Behind the seventh and last door, she finally discovers her three murdered predecessors. Judith walks through this door and joins them, letting the castle sink again into darkness.
A story of light and darkness, full of symbolism and possible meanings, Bluebeard’s Castle is a very dense opera whose content and music alone fill the space.
The set design
In Kosky’s staging, the set is reduced to a minimum. No doors nor castle, only a white, leaning, revolving disk. The different situations in the castle at the opening of the different doors are rendered with a few powerful scenic elements in the characters’ hands.
Bluebeard’s Castle is performed jointly with Kosky’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in a “double-evening” that has enjoyed a great success during the past editions.