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CHAN 3133
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CHAN 3133

Bartok: Bluebeard's Castle

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2006

Originally recorded in 2005


Opera North Orchestra

Richard Farnes

John Tomlinson

bass - Duke Bluebeard/Minstrel

Sally Burgess

mezzo-soprano - Judith


Leeds Town Hall


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Michael Common


Record Label
Opera In English


Vocal & Song

Opera in English

Total Time - 63:01
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Bluebeard's Castle

  Opera in one act  
  Libretto by Béla Balázs, English version by John Lloyd Davies, Prologue adapted for Opera North by Giles Havergal  
1 Minstrel: 'Bluebeard's castle, a myth, a legend' 2:19
2 Bluebeard: 'Will you enter? Look around you' 3:30
3 Judith: 'Here I am in Bluebeard's castle' 3:31
4 Bluebeard: 'Tell me why you came here, Judith' 2:14
5 Judith: 'Ah! I can see seven doorways' 2:11
  First Door - The Torture Chamber  
6 Judith: 'Oh, I heard your castle sighing' 2:40
7 Bluebeard: 'What's there? What's there?' 4:11
  Second Door - The Armoury  
8 Bluebeard: What's there?' 2:35
9 Bluebeard: 'Trembling seizes all my castle' 1:54
  Third Door - The Treasury  
10 Judith: 'Glittering gold!' 2:17
  Fourth Door - The Secret Garden  
11 Judith: 'Oh! Lovely flowers! Oh! Beautiful scents' 4:49
  Fifth Door - Bluebeard's Kingdom  
12 Judith: 'Ah!' 4:00
13 Bluebeard: 'Look! Brightness has filled my castle' 2:58
  Sixth Door - Tears  
14 Judith: 'Silent tranquil peaceful waters. . .' 5:27
15 Bluebeard: 'My last door will stay unopened' 1:39
16 Judith: 'Tell me truly, tell me Bluebeard' 2:37
17 Judith: 'I know what's behind it Bluebeard' 4:07
  Seventh Door - Bluebeard's Former Wives  
18 Bluebeard: 'Look upon the other women' 2:37
19 Bluebeard: 'Daybreak - when I found the first one' 2:05
20 Bluebeard: 'Midnight - when I found the fourth floor' 5:20
 John Tomlinson bass - Duke Bluebeard/Minstrel
 Sally Burgess mezzo-soprano - Judith
 Richard Farnes
  5-6 June 2005  
The 2005 production on which this recording is based, received critical and popular acclaim.

This is the only available recording in English

Bluebeard is performed by world-renowned bass John Tomlinson and is one of his most famous roles

Available at mid-price

Bartok’s only opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, is bitingly dramatic and keeps audiences enthralled from beginning to end. It is performed here with absolute authority by Opera North.

This is the only available recording of the opera in English, and available at mid-price. Farnes and his cast deliver an impassioned, deeply resonant reading of Bartok’s masterpiece revealing the protagonists’ inner states in the brilliance of Bartok’s orchestration which is full of both subtlety and power. Richard Farnes’s performance was described by The Guardian as ‘heaving with an almost physical menace’. John Tomlinson is famous for his performances of Duke Bluebeard, having performed it in Hungarian many times. He is supported by the stunning Sally Burgess, as Judith Bluebeard’s new wife. ‘John Tomlinson's Bluebeard is superbly menacing and authoritative, his voice full of subtlety throughout its whole compass and with perfectly harnessed, effortless power…’ wrote The Opera Critic.

Chandos is delighted to add this major recording from Opera North to our acclaimed Opera in English series.

This is a superb studio recording of Opera North’s splendid semi-staged performances last year [2005] of Bartok’s only opera… The recording is also especially valuable for preserving the wonderful performance by Opera North’s orchestra under the baton of it music director Richard Farnes…Farnes’ control of his forces is supremely impressive… throughout the work.
Sunday Telegraph

The ultimate vehicle for two great singing actors; an ambitious conductor and a fine opera orchestra.
The Independent

An obvious but considerable merit of this release, in Chandos’s Opera in English Series, is that it makes Bartok’s masterpiece more accessible and to a wider audience. After all, how many opera lovers understand Hungarian?… in English it’s irresistible. The English text is supplied, and Chandos has tracked the work very well. The spoken prelude is included…And the sound is excellent – the best I’ve heard from Chandos.
American Record Guide

Chandos’ Opera in English series supported by the Peter Moores Foundation – exemplarily cast, excellently recorded and handsomely produced – may offer a rallying point…this is an absorbing account of the opera from two distinguished singers British singers. John Tomlinson contributes a Bluebeard of implacable strength in a performance… Sally Burgess’s Judith is intensely dramatic, always musicianly, and contributes strongly to the performance’s rising tension…Richard Farnes leads a highly polished performance, sumptuously played by the Orchestra of Opera North.

Reviews of the 2005 production: Its powerful stuff and you need to hear it.
The Guardian

As Bluebeard and Judith, John Tomlinson and Sally Burgess play out their marital endgame with shocking immediacy. Conductor Richard Farnes immaculately sustains a mood of nerve-ridden unease, rather than opting for the more usual full-frontal, expressionist assault.
The Guardian

It’s great to have a version of Bartok’s magnificent one-act opera in English, especially one as good as this. The booklet comes not only with a complete English libretto but also a fascinating and illuminating essay on the work by Mike Ashman…this new Chandos set is a very distinguished release, a splendid addition to its Peter Moores Foundation Opera in English series.
International Record Review

Bartok’s opera was an obvious candidate for inclusion in Chandos’ Opera in English series. Right from the spoken prologue (excellently delivered by John Tomlinson), we are drawn into the drama and its psychology, and the immediacy of the language during the opera itself vividly conveys not only the trepidation of Bluebeard’s new wife, Judith, but also the erotic charge between the two characters… If you want a version in English, it would be hard to imagine it better done (and Mike Ashman’s perceptiver booklet note is a decided bonus).
BBC Music Magazine

For a thoroughly sympathetic, theatrically effective English-language Bluebeard’s Castle, this new release is about as good as it’s likely to get.

Sally Burgess' performance is breathtaking and illuminating, offering new insights and refinements or enriching an already subtle and complex characterisation 'and the singing is to die for…
The Stage

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