This recording of the opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue by Paul Dukas was staged at the Liceu in Barcelona in 2011, with Claus Guth as director, Stéphane Denève as conductor and José van Dam and Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet in the leading roles.
Ariane et Barbe-Bleue is an opera in three acts by Dukas, whose libretto is based on a play by Maeterlinck, which itself is based on Perrault's tale. The opera was first performed in 1907 at the Opera Comique. This version of Ariane et Barbe-Bleue was staged by Claus Guth and performed by world-renowned dramatic Wagnerian soprano singer Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet and bass-baritone José van Dam. Stéphane Denève conducts Dukas's score with confidence.
The plot takes place in Barbe-Bleue's castle. The opera begins as Ariane, Barbe-Bleue's new spouse, arrives at the castle with her nurse. At first, the young woman does not believe the rumours about her new husband; allegedly, he murdered his five previous wives. Therefore, when he gives her a bunch of keys, six silver and one gold, and makes her promise not to use the seventh key, she decides to disobey and thus reveals his secret. After opening all the doors, she finally arrives at the forbidden door and can hear wailing coming from the inside. Can Ariane unveil her husband's secret? Before she gets a chance to enter the forbidden room, Barbe-Bleue catches her. As a punishment, he locks her in the room. There, she meets, Sélysette, Ygraine, Mélisande, Bellangère and Alladine – the five supposedly dead wives. After exploring the walls of the prison, the newcomer finds the way out and liberates the wives. When the six women arrive at the Great Room, Barbe-Bleue is not there. He is later transported back to the castle by villagers, having been injured. Instead of taking vengeance, the women take care of him with tenderness and compassion. After bandaging his wounds, Ariane leaves the castle and advises the other women to follow her. Only the nurse follows her out of the castle.
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Jean-François Zygel's Keys to the Orchestra