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Bartok: Bluebeard's Castle
Bela Bartok, Bernard Haitink, Berlin Philharmonic
Bartok: Bluebeard's Castle
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1


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All Artists: Bela Bartok, Bernard Haitink, Berlin Philharmonic, John Tomlinson, Anne Sofie von Otter
Title: Bartok: Bluebeard's Castle
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI / Angel Records
Release Date: 10/22/1996
Album Type: Import
Genre: Classical
Style: Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 724355616227

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CD Reviews

"It Was a Dark and Rainy Night............."
Gregory E. Foster | Portland, ME, USA | 07/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself!....ahem, on to the review.

This recording is quite simply one of the most spectacular opera recordings of the last decade. Ms von Otter's Judith is, like nearly everything she has done, exquisite--superlative, finely nuanced, and immensely moving.. John Tomlinson's Bluebeard is damned fine, indeed, ranking with the best. And the Berlin Philharmonic.........well, they're the Berlin Philharmonic! Polished, refined, working and magnificently playing together with real bite, and also with the silveryest sheen on the strings imaginable. The honorable Mr. Haitink, as is his tradition, draws from them a magnificently interpreted and played rendition of this complex and wonderful score, and the technicians have captured all this in absolutely breathtaking sound for a live performance. All around, this recording gets top rating in all categories. It belongs in any opera lover's collection. I love this recording........and yet, I still go back to the old Ludwig/Berry/Kertesz recording on Decca from the 60's and I am not really sure why. Perhaps because I "grew up" with this recording or something.......somehow it seems "right". Truth to tell, they both should be in one's collection--one for historic performance's sake, and one for being a monumental performance by today's artists in modern sound. Enjoy them both, they're each excellent and truly worthy of your shelf-space. ~operabruin

A dark and brooding masterpiece
Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 01/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Full disclosure: this is one of my favorite operas. My first exposure was the early recording with Boulez and Troyanos (still available), and I've heard a number of others, but this one must now take first place. One strength is that the spoken prologue is included by Sandor Eles, speaking in the original Hungarian. As he reaches the end of his introduction, delivered in delicately creepy Boris Karloff style, the opening music quietly begins, setting an ominous tone for everything that is to follow. Anne Sofie von Otter is magnificent as Judith. (Some may find her voice too light for the part, although I didn't.) The combination of innocence and increasing desperation is pretty terrifying, thanks to her vocal and dramatic skills. John Tomlinson makes a marvelous Bluebeard, singing to Judith with an almost reassuring warmth. Some may prefer a "rougher" Bluebeard, but I enjoyed the effect of his voice masking his real intentions -- until the shocking conclusion. Haitink's characteristic understatement works extremely well here, as he encourages the Berlin Philharmonic to ever more sinister heights. This is very much an opera that requires a brilliant orchestra in addition to its two stars, and here the Berlin ensemble just sounds terrific. One of the work's highlights is especially well done, when Judith opens the fifth door that reveals "all of Bluebeard's kingdom." The blaze of orchestral playing here is just spine-tingling.The sound quality is excellent -- recorded live -- and fittingly caps a project that does a grand job communicating Bartok's dark intentions."
Excellent recording of a forgotten gem
Merry One | VA | 03/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Bluebeard's Castle is not exactly one of Bartok's better known works, and it is even rarer to see it performed in person. I had the honor of seeing it just recently, and was so entranced by the dark tale that I had to get the recording too. This is an excellent performance of the one act opera. The opera is short, and very compact, and it has one of the tightest, most intense scores of any opera I know. The story is very dark, definitely not for the faint of heart, and is most reminiscent of the gothic tales of Edgar Allen Poe. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Bartok, as it represents some of his most sophisticated and rich music. It is more melodic, I think, than some of his later stuff, though not as accessible as Concerto for Orchestra. Still, this version does it justice, and I really enjoy listening to it!"