Bluebeards Castle

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Béla Bartók


Béla Balász


24 May 1918, Budapest (Budapest Opera)




Bluebeards Castle Synopsis


Bluebeards Castle Libretto


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About the opera Bluebeards Castle

Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Hungarian: A kékszakállú herceg vára; literally: The Castle of the Blue-Bearded Duke) is a one-act opera by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. The libretto was written by Béla Balázs, a poet and friend of the composer. It is in Hungarian, based on the French fairy tale "Bluebeard" by Charles Perrault. The opera lasts only a little over an hour and there are only two singing characters onstage: Bluebeard (Kékszakállú), and his new wife Judith (Judit); the two have just eloped and Judith is coming home to Bluebeard's castle for the first time.
Bluebeard's Castle was composed in 1911 (with modifications made in 1912 and a new ending added in 1917) and first performed on May 24, 1918 in Budapest. Universal published the vocal (1921) and full score (1925). The Boosey & Hawkes' full score includes only the German and English singing translations while the Dover edition reproduces the Universal Edition Hungarian/German vocal score (with page numbers beginning at 1 instead of 5). A revision of the UE vocal score in 1963 added a new German translation by Wilhelm Ziegler, but seems not to have corrected any errata. Universal Edition and Bartók Records has published a new edition of the work in 2005 with new English translation by Peter Bartók, accompanied by extensive errata list.
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Roles in Bluebeards Castle

Prologue of the Bard Spoken
Bluebeard Bass or Bass-Baritone
Judith Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano
Bluebeard's wives Silent

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