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A rare opportunity to see a very rare French opera —and the only one by Paul Dukas (famous for his orchestral work “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”)
Dukas's opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, based on Maeterlinck's symbolist version of the classic tale, sees free spirit Ariane become the sixth wife of the infamous Barbe-bleue, who gives his new bride seven keys to seven doors, but prohibits the use of the last. Ariane discovers an array of glittering jewels behind the first six doors, but a terrifying reality awaits her as she unlocks the seventh...
Read a full review in English by Keris9 on his “Opera Journal” site here:
Et un autre par laurent bergnach en français ici:
There were so many things to digest in this opera, it is really hard to give an appreciation right away. The music was beautiful as were the voices and I think the rather minimalist staging was very effective so one could concentrate on the voices and the psychology. All in all I really enjoyed being introduced to this opera. I would like to see more "controversial" and little-known works like this at OperaDou.
« Mise en scène surprenante — assez froide pour une première fois. Je pense qu'en revoyant ce spectacle, on doit l’appréhender d’une façon plus positive Le 3eme acte a plus attiré mon attention. »
Not really my kind of music, but as it went on I liked it better and better. The representation of the psychology was fantastic. The voices were superb, but I think I would like to see it again just to listen. At first I hated the set but in retrospect I found it brilliant. I especially liked the business with the neck case of assurance. Certain parts of the music and other business, the arms reaching for the lights, the boat, were very moving and the orchestral parts work quite lovely. To be seen again!
« Opéra extrêmement difficile à écouter et ressentir. Aucune mélodie ne permet de s’enraciner dans l’œuvre. Performance de l’orchestre somptueuse, difficulté technique instrumentale énorme. Les cantatrices ont des voix similaires — mise en scène glaciale! Environnement psychologique tendu. »
Psychodrama. Difficult-squawking main singer with no memorable melodies to sing. The other wives - it strikes me they are all dead - dressed in shrouds so they couldn't leave their cellar. Music distinctly un-memorable.
« Interprétation libre de faits beaucoup plus sordides. Syndrome de Stockholm généralisé à toutes ces femmes. L’ont elle vraiment vécu ainsi? »
An extremely difficult opera to listen to and experience. No melodies make it possible to connect with the work. Superb performance from the orchestra with such enormous instrumental technical difficulties. The singers have similar voices and the staging is glacial. There is a tense, psychological, all pervading environment that is quite disturbing.
« J’ai apprécié la musique, les chanteuses mais pas la façon de filmer — surtout les gros plans... »
Very good production. Interesting music. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I particularly enjoyed the 3rd act. Despite all that, the voices were not particularly pleasant.
Singing / performance: B
HDVD production: B+
Overall ranking: B
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