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In Reply to: RE: ugh.... posted by Penguin on June 22, 2012 at 16:55:49
Wow - I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who don't understand the language. To me, Bluebeard's Castle is one of Bartok's most atmospheric and interesting works, and I like to think that I know the work pretty well - I played the rehearsals for a production of the opera done at Stanford in the 70's. Sorry I missed the production that Robert saw. I did see the SF symphony do this work sometime in the 80's, but it was strictly a concert performance. The most striking thing about it IMHO was the size of the voice of Katalin Kasza, who sang Judith - very impressive indeed, and I was not prepared for it on the basis of her recording of the role with Ferencsik conducting on a Hungaroton LP.
I also used to have the video laser disc with Solti conducting, with Sylvia Sass singing Judith. I think this was a production where they took a pre-existing recording and mimed the action. That didn't bother me in the least - Sass was such a babe in her day!
Edits: 06/22/12Follow Ups:
you have non natives singing it :). Bartok, at least for me, is the most interesting composer of the 20th century. I consume large quantities of his music on a regular basis, trust me i tried to like Bluebeard's but i cannot get to the end of it without getting annoyed with the repetitiveness of the lyrics and the story line is not very very entertaining....I felt many times i would have an easier time with this if it was sung in Armenian, maybe .... and also there is this thing; i cannot stand opera as a form of classical music, all is good till they start singing :) then i have to skip those parts, then it is over and i did not enjoy much of it. Based on those two facts you have to take my criticism of this piece with a very very large block of salt.
True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
quote by Kurt Vonnegut
I don't speak the language either, but I've read the libretto every time I've listened to the BFO Philips SACD, and it affects me each time. The interplay between Judith and Bluebeard throughout the piece, her insisting inquisitiveness, against his guarded passiveness, culminating in her surrender to the inevitable once she went too far. The last scene, with the counterpoint between the two never leaves me dry eyed.
Seiji Ozawa and the BSO preformed Bluebeard in the late 80's, as did Levine four years ago. Seiji's was the much more dramatic interpretation, With 20 additional Brass spread 10 on each side of the hall half way back. I had a friend (my then boss) with me on the rail of the second balcony. I wasn't working at the BSO then. He was mildly board, not watching the concert staged performers through the first four Doors, reading the libretto, when his world of classical music changed forever with Door Five. The enormous crash of the percussion, the huge C major organ cord, Judith screaming, and all that brass right on top of us so shocked him, I thought he was going to go over the balcony rail.
I can't recommend it enough.
. . . even though Robert referred to it in his original post. Like you, I've got the Philips incarnation of it - and you're right, it's very affecting. I also have the Dorati/LSO CD on Mercury, which I also love, even though Székeley was past his prime and Szönyi's voice was a bit too tremulous - still, I'm sorry that 35mm recording was CD only and was not part of the Mercury SACD series.
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