Opera Scotland

Duke Bluebeard's Castle 2004Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle

Edinburgh's major visiting company in 2004 was from Germany, but a Festival newcomer, the Hanover State Opera. In a mere four performances they presented the work of three of Europe's most controversial 'concept' direction teams. The single performance of Il trovatore, never presented at a previous Festival, was directed by the never-dull Catalan Calixto Bieito, whose production of Celestina for Birmingham Rep was also seen at the Festival. Peter Konwitschny's production was of Nono's massive Al gran sole carico d'amore, while Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito took a fresh look at Pelléas et Mélisande, given two performances to end the visit. The final opera was Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, presented by Opera North in a co-production with Emio Greco I PC. There were five operas given in concert at the Usher Hall. A stimulating series gave a survey of the three major Weber operas - Der Freischütz, Euryanthe and Oberon. The first two had not been seen in Edinburgh in half a century. There was an excellent Bartók evening, including Duke Bluebeard's Castle. The final offering saw a vintage cast assembled for Strauss' Capriccio.

This was an excellent programme of the Hungarian master's work, with a first half comprising the Divertimento and Third Piano Concerto (with near-local Steven Osborne as soloist). The two great singers, who appeared frequently in Edinburgh in opera concerts, curiously never sang in a fully-staged performance. Definitely our loss. Volkov and the BBC SSO had already played the opera as part of their Glasgow concert season (with different soloists), so the programme was quite a convenient one for them.

The opera is no longer a rarity in the central belt, and was even staged by Scottish Opera in their 2004 season. Has it ever been performed in the outer fastnesses of Aberdeen, Dundee, or Inverness? We suspect not.

One frustrating aspect of festival-going is inevitably the occasional clash - one cannot be in two places at once. On this evening a choice had to be made by operagoers between this tantalising cast of Bluebeard and the sole Edinburgh airing of the Hanover production of Trovatore, directed by enfant terrible Calixto Bieito.

Performance Cast

Duke Bluebeard

John Relyea

Judith Bluebeard's new wife

Petra Lang

Performance DatesDuke Bluebeard's Castle 2004

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

23 Aug, 19.30

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