Doesn't this sound like a familiar scenario: once you finally decide to go to the opera, the sky opens up and pours rain, and suddenly what you decided to be a great outfit for the evening doesn't seem appropriate any more? This was exactly the beginning of my â€œNight at the Operaâ€ a few Tuesdays ago when I even cancelled the last few hours of my work just to be able to enjoy the evening with my friend Olga. Nevertheless, even the bad outfit (bad for the weather, of course) couldn't ruin the event. It was quite unexpected that I decided to go to Bela Bartok‘s Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Arnold Schoenberg‘s Erwartung. Chicago Opera Theater offered the double bill Tales from the Dark Side as two one-act operas concerning extreme relationships and the consequences of betrayal and distrust.
Bela Bartok, 1927
The main actors of the Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1911) are Duke Bluebeard portrayed by the most recorded bass in history, legendary Samuel Ramey, and his younger, but not any less great, Hungarian-Canadian colleague, mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabo as Judith. Interestingly enough, this opera was performed in Hungarian, which gave zest to an already exquisite and intriguing story. Both Ramey and Szabo were extraordinary in their roles, with Szabo sometimes fighting with the loud brass (like Don Quixote and the windmills), however, not because of her inability to produce, but because of the composer's arrangement.
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