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Cat. No. CHAN 3133 Price: £9 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 3133 - Bartok: Bluebeard's Castle
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Available From: 01 May 2006
Bartok’s only opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, is bitingly dramatic and keeps audiences enthralled from beginning to end. It is performed here with absolute authority by Opera North.

This is the only available recording of the opera in English, and available at mid-price. Farnes and his cast deliver an impassioned, deeply resonant reading of Bartok’s masterpiece revealing the protagonists’ inner states in the brilliance of Bartok’s orchestration which is full of both subtlety and power. Richard Farnes’s performance was described by The Guardian as ‘heaving with an almost physical menace’. John Tomlinson is famous for his performances of Duke Bluebeard, having performed it in Hungarian many times. He is supported by the stunning Sally Burgess, as Judith Bluebeard’s new wife. ‘John Tomlinson's Bluebeard is superbly menacing and authoritative, his voice full of subtlety throughout its whole compass and with perfectly harnessed, effortless power…’ wrote The Opera Critic.

Chandos is delighted to add this major recording from Opera North to our acclaimed Opera in English series.
Reviews

This is a superb studio recording of Opera North’s splendid semi-staged performances last year [2005] of Bartok’s only opera… The recording is also especially valuable for preserving the wonderful performance by Opera North’s orchestra under the baton of it music director Richard Farnes…Farnes’ control of his forces is supremely impressive… throughout the work.
Sunday Telegraph

The ultimate vehicle for two great singing actors; an ambitious conductor and a fine opera orchestra.
The Independent

An obvious but considerable merit of this release, in Chandos’s Opera in English Series, is that it makes Bartok’s masterpiece more accessible and to a wider audience. After all, how many opera lovers understand Hungarian?… in English it’s irresistible. The English text is supplied, and Chandos has tracked the work very well. The spoken prelude is included…And the sound is excellent – the best I’ve heard from Chandos.
American Record Guide

Chandos’ Opera in English series supported by the Peter Moores Foundation – exemplarily cast, excellently recorded and handsomely produced – may offer a rallying point…this is an absorbing account of the opera from two distinguished singers British singers. John Tomlinson contributes a Bluebeard of implacable strength in a performance… Sally Burgess’s Judith is intensely dramatic, always musicianly, and contributes strongly to the performance’s rising tension…Richard Farnes leads a highly polished performance, sumptuously played by the Orchestra of Opera North.
Opera

Reviews of the 2005 production: Its powerful stuff and you need to hear it.
The Guardian

As Bluebeard and Judith, John Tomlinson and Sally Burgess play out their marital endgame with shocking immediacy. Conductor Richard Farnes immaculately sustains a mood of nerve-ridden unease, rather than opting for the more usual full-frontal, expressionist assault.
The Guardian

It’s great to have a version of Bartok’s magnificent one-act opera in English, especially one as good as this. The booklet comes not only with a complete English libretto but also a fascinating and illuminating essay on the work by Mike Ashman…this new Chandos set is a very distinguished release, a splendid addition to its Peter Moores Foundation Opera in English series.
International Record Review

Bartok’s opera was an obvious candidate for inclusion in Chandos’ Opera in English series. Right from the spoken prologue (excellently delivered by John Tomlinson), we are drawn into the drama and its psychology, and the immediacy of the language during the opera itself vividly conveys not only the trepidation of Bluebeard’s new wife, Judith, but also the erotic charge between the two characters… If you want a version in English, it would be hard to imagine it better done (and Mike Ashman’s perceptiver booklet note is a decided bonus).
BBC Music Magazine

For a thoroughly sympathetic, theatrically effective English-language Bluebeard’s Castle, this new release is about as good as it’s likely to get.
Gramophone

Sally Burgess' performance is breathtaking and illuminating, offering new insights and refinements or enriching an already subtle and complex characterisation 'and the singing is to die for…
The Stage

 

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