Bartók: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Bartók: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

by: Alexander Campbell

Enigmatic Bluebeard leads headstrong new wife Judith inside his forbidding castle. Seeing seven doors, she demands access finding in turn a torture chamber, an armoury, his treasure vault and garden, each bloodstained. Bluebeard’s expansive domains, behind door five, illuminate the castle. Again, Judith senses blood. Within door six, opened despite Bluebeard’s warnings, is a dark lake of tears. Enquiring about Bluebeard’s three former wives Judith finds them alive behind door seven as he relates their meetings at daybreak, afternoon, and dusk. Judith he met at night. Trapped, she joins them behind door seven which closes restoring Bluebeard’s castle to darkness.

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