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MahlerFest: Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle
May 21 @ 7:30 pm
Colorado MahlerFest Chamber Orchestra
Kenneth Woods, conductor
April Frederick, Judith
Gustav Andreassen, Bluebeard
Bartók’s opera is based on a libretto by the Jewish-Hungarian writer and critic, Béla Balázs. Balázs wrote the libretto for their mutual friend, Zoltán Kodály. Bartók was spurred to set the libretto by a competition, which he lost. The opera languished without a performance for several years, causing Bartók to lament to his wife, Márta to whom he dedicated the opera: “Now I know that I will never hear it in this life. You asked me to play it for you—I am afraid I would not be able to get through it. Still I’ll try so that we may mourn it together.”
In Balázs’ and Bartók’s re-telling of the Bluebeard legend, the title character is, in Bartók’s words, “not a murderer. The images of the Castle are allegorical pictures of the soul.” Bartók also said that the work was a “soul ballade” which expresses “the tragedy of a soul destined to be alone.” The work mourns the way in which “the holy feeling of love dies by becoming every-day. His loves live, but no longer in his life.”
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