Valery Gergiev is joined by two outstanding singers for his latest LSO Live release featuring Bartok’s one-act opera.
Despite being one of the greatest ever interpreters of the role of Bluebeard on stage, this is Sir Willard White’s first complete recording of Bluebeard’s Castle. His Judith is the outstanding young Russian-born, Berlin-based mezzo Elena Zhidkova.
"I had not heard Gergiev apply his magic to Bartok before, and the results are stunning. Everything is perfection..." "The SIngers are superbly directed; both supply rich, potent voices that produce highly dramatic portrayals without ever sacrificing beauty of tone. White is one of the outstanding bass-baritones of this era, and he has never demonstrated it more vividly, unleashing huge waves of perfectly controlled tone. I am less familiar with Zhidkova; her shining mezzo illuminates the performance. They invest their roles with sympathetic personalities; seldom have Bluebeard and his Judith seemed so believable, so real."
"...The recorded sound is amazingly sucessful in balancing voices and orchestra; neither is ever slighted, and there are many moments where details of the accompaniment are clarified as never before."
James H North
"All the restless qualities of the underlying and shadowy string themes are sketched in an appropriately unsettling way. Vitally for this score, the woodwind figures add their eerie colours and decorative dissonance to great effect, the clarinet making a particularly telling contribution – wonderful playing... Orchestral textures are remarkably clear and Bartók’s highly individual percussive effects make their full impact. Gergiev is most considerate to his singers, even at the most grandiose and loud moments."
"Gergiev’s Bluebeard passes beyond shattering into a realm even more deeply disturbing"
Disc of the Month
“Bartok’s only opera is a dark and intense work, involving only two characters. Bluebeard’s young bride persuades him to open seven doors in his castle in order to let light into the grim interior. Behind each she finds increasingly disturbing sights, until behind the final door she discovers Bluebeard’s former wives and learns her fate.”
*** Opera Choice of the Month ***