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Bluebeard's Castle
Bluebeard's Castle

Randi Stene about Bluebeard's Castle

Welcome to Bluebeard's Castle – a full evening made up of three works that are among my favourites: Duke Bluebeard's Castle by Bartók, Frauenliebe und -leben by Schumann and A Florentine Tragedy by Zemlinsky.


Not only is the production brand new; so is this combination, which Tobias Kratzer is behind. Ever since the first time I saw a production by this up-and-coming German director, I was immediately drawn into his storytelling universe. He creates opera in a way that does not break with tradition, but is nevertheless experienced as something new, warm, alive, unexpected and deeply felt.

Kratzer combines three works, each of which are three complete masterpieces, but which together create a surprisingly logical whole. A new story emerges – which is at the same time as old as humanity itself. Because it is about living together, and that has never been easy. Cohabitation can evoke the greatest emotions in us, the best and the worst, and they can turn into great music.

Our incoming music director Edward Gardner is behind the wonderful, but also demanding musical expressions you will encounter tonight, together with the Opera Orchestra and a bunch of great soloists. The Swedish baritone John Lundgren is on stage throughout all three works, as the recurring character Bluebeard. He is a strong representation of the man through different times who, among other things, has his masculinity challenged in the meeting with the handsome Guido, sung by the tenors Rodrigo Porras Garulo and Magnus Staveland.

As a mezzo-soprano myself, I am particularly proud that this is first and foremost an evening for the mezzos, which is not usual fare. Hungarian Dorottya Lang sings Hungarian Duke Bluebeard's castle, while Ingeborg Gillebo and Tone Kummervold are the women we meet in Frauenliebe und -leben and A Florentine Tragedy, respectively. The three mezzo-sopranos have their own characteristics, both in personality and timbre, but at the same time show how the middle voices are the closest to the speaking voice. John Lundgren's baritone also contributes to that, and it gives the performance a special expression of something close, I think. This is reinforced by the fact that the evening opens with a staging of chamber music – music intended for homes – where pianist Håvard Gimse slides quite naturally into the 1840s living room.

We are so happy to have all these great musicians and artists with us, and together with them present you with a unique production we are very proud of!

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