Opera Scotland

Duke Bluebeard's Castle 1984Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle

1984 was an odd year for the Festival to put on an all-Bartók concert, having missed his centenary by three years. In this case, definitely better late than never. The programme began with two comparative rareties, in the Romanian Folk Dances and a Suite from the little-known ballet The Wooden Prince. Walter Weller, former leader of the Vienna Philharmonic, would later spend a fruitful period directing the SNO. At this time he was known in Scotland for his operatic work - wonderful performances with Scottish Opera of Rosenkavalier and Fidelio.

Concert performances of operas were in those days unusual, frowned on by people who saw them as a method of working on the cheap with minimal rehearsal. There was no danger of that here, and the second half of the concert was a memorable performance of Bluebeard. The quality of the cast speaks for itself, particularly when Fischer-Dieskau, a regular visitor to the Festival for concerts and recitals, had only sung one operatic role there. Julia Varady, his fourth wife (not quite in Bluebeard's league then!), was Romanian by birth, but a native Hungarian speaker. Also at the height of her considerable powers, she was another favourite with Edinburgh audiences.  Varady was hugely impressive as Judith. Nowadays many international singers happily learn these roles in Hungarian, but for F-D to do so then was quite a surprise. They had been working on the piece together for some time (and recorded it with Sawallisch). The whole enterprise was thoroughly convincing.

Performance Cast

Duke Bluebeard

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Judith Bluebeard's new wife

Júlia Várady

Performance DatesDuke Bluebeard's Castle 1984

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

17 Aug, 20.00

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