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Bartók - Bluebeard's Castle

Budapest Festival Orchestra


SKU: 90311

Year of release: 2002

Bluebeard's Castle 55:25
1. Prologue Bartók 01:37
2. Opening Scene Bartók 12:36
3. Door 1 Bartók 04:01
4. Door 2 Bartók 03:56
5. Door 3 Bartók 02:09
6. Door 4 Bartók 04:32
7. Door 5 Bartók 05:55
8. Door 6 Bartók 11:57
9. Door 7 Bartók 08:36
Total time: 55:25

About this album

Despite occasional successful stagings of this opera, it is concert performances that stir up the feelings of audiences most. I have witnessed many times inperformances of this psycho-drama that listeners, staring at the faces of the two singers for sixty minutes, or following a surtitled or printed libretto translationduring Bartók’s deeply emotional music, were confronted with themselves. The prologue is very important; this is in fact a story about us. Usually, after the opera hasended, discussions break out, dividing men and women. Whereas everybody seems to understand why Judit cannot resist her desire to open all the doors, Bluebeard’scharacter remains controversial. Is it right or wrong, necessary or unnecessary to keep certain doors closed? Why does he need to lock Judit up after she has discovered his secrets? Is the blood real, or does it exist only in Judit’s fearful imagination? This Bluebeard is not a killer, even if he has a bad reputation and Judita sees bloodeverywhere. All the earlier wives are alive in his heart, behind closed doors. Bartók, who was himself a closed, shy man, seems to have been fascinated by strange-looking characters who turn out to feel endless love. This links Bluebeard to the Miraculous Mandarin.
I am very grateful to Mr Vikárius and Mr Somfai of the Bartók archive in Budapest, who drew my attention to a number of errors in the printed score which wehave been able to correct in this new recording. I also want to thank the Budapest State Opera, who lent us the very rare keyboard xylophone which gives the torture chamber scene its authentic colour.
Iván Fischer

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Fischer and his superb orchestra are overwhelming at the climaxes, aided by the outstanding sonics from Budapest’s Italian Institute. The brass-led outbursts at the opening of the fifth door (track 7) will make your hair stand on end. (...)The voices are naturally integrated into the orchestra, always intelligible and never lost to even the great climaxes.

Audiphile Audition

(...) Channel’s re-mastering is deeper and more revealing than the original (...) It’s good to have this reading back, in better shape than ever, passionate, intense, and beautifully remastered.

American Record Guide

(…) This is one of the best recordings I’ve heard of this opera, not only because of the sound but also because Ivan Fischer turns out to be an excellent conductor of challenging work. (…)

Technical Specifications

Recording Type Bit RateDSD64
Recording LocationItalian Institute, Budapest
Recording EngineerHein Dekker, Erdo Groot
ProducerHein Dekker