Sir Simon Rattle conducts Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle – With Karen Cargill et Gerald Finley

London Symphony Orchestra

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Karen Cargill — Judith

Gerald Finley — Bluebeard

London Symphony Orchestra — Orchestra

Sir Simon Rattle — Conductor

Program notes

Discover (or relive) the excitement of Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle in a brilliant concert version by Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, joined by the widely lauded Karen Cargill and Gerald Finley!

The lone opera by Béla Bartók, Duke Bluebeard's Castle is a theatrical masterpiece and an essential work of the 20th-century opera stage. Its dramatic libretto is the work of the author (and friend of the composer) Béla Balázs, liberally adapted from Charles Perrault's folktale Bluebeard, via Maurice Maeterlinck. The tale's original structure is reversed: in the opera, the accent falls less on the main character's legendary cruelty than on his profound solitude. The thrilling plot centers on his new wife Judith, who endeavors to know everything about her Bluebeard, insisting that she be allowed to open all the locked doors in his castle. But this desire for absolute honesty may prove to be incompatible with their romance…

To transpose into music this weighty blend of symbolism, expressionism, and impressionism, Bartók deploys a kaleidoscope of colors and orchestral timbres, as varied as they are sophisticated, and a range of harmonies inspired by the folk traditions of central Europe. The result is this work that enjoys a unique place in the opera repertoire, an impressive combination of musical pastiche and modernity, mysterious and gripping, heart-rending in its expression of the inexpressible.

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