OperaFusion launches with “Bluebeard’s Castle”
A blood-lusty psychosexual thriller of an opera by Béla Bartók.
October 31, 2014, Lake Worth, Florida
Way before “Fifty Shades of Grey” and half a century before Alfred Hitchcock, Béla Bartók composed Bluebeard’s Castle, a provocative gem of an opera. Judith exclaims “Are you still coming after me?” at the critical moment when Bluebeard decides her fate, along with that of his other wives. Enjoy this eerie tale of love gone wrong. Featuring performances by Metropolitan Opera star and local resident Dean Peterson as Bluebeard, as well as diva Birgit Fioravante as Judith.
All Hallow’s Eve gave birth to a new opera company for South Florida.
October 31 saw the launch of Opera Fusion at Lake Worth Playhouse in a well-presented, well-sung mounting of Bartók’s “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle.”
The group’s mission is to get opera to the people; It’s an artist-driven startup offering a new approach. Less stodgy, as proven by the very young audience who came in Halloween costumes, filling the theater. And certainly not elitist, a stuffy name that has dogged th grand opera companies of America.
“Imagine covering a quartet, each singer having his or her own screen: we’ll be privy to their innermost thoughts as they are videoed in synch with the music.” said Dean Peterson, Artistic Director.
Bluebeard’s Castle is a sinister story, and Bartók’s only opera, composed in 1911. The one-act is regularly performed and ranks as one of the great 20th century operas. The music is accessible though not memorial, yawing between the serial modernist 12-tone system of Schoenberg in its rich sensors composition and a more traditional line for the singers.
The plot involves the Duke bringing his fourth wife, Judith, to his dark castle, which as no windows, only seven doors. She demands the keys to let in th light. Behind the doors she finds a torture chamber, an armory, a treasury, a rose garden, a window the looks over his kingdom, and a lae of tears, all defiled by blood, cleverly displayed on huge screens at the rear of the stage. Behind the seventh door Judith discovers the Duke’s three previous wives, knowing her fate will not be to join them, leaving Bluebeard in darkness and solitude.
Dean Peterson’s Duke, with his deep baritone voice, was remarkably stentorian and vibrant. Its as warm as the Florida sun. He cuts a dashingly handsome figure.
Dramatic soprano Brigit Fioravante was well-suited to the role of Judith. Her performance was flawless as she moved from bright-eyed bride to helpless victim. It is a demanding part: a severe test of keeping perfect pitch through so much singing. Fioravante succeeded in spades.
Choosing “Bluebeard’s Casle” as its first production showed enormous intestinal fortitude on the part of Opera Fusion. Had it flopped, its failure would have shadowed the group’s future productions. Instead, the audience reaction was one of enthusiastic applause, sincere appreciation for a job well-done.
This new and challenging people’s opera company has a great deal of promise, with high standards already set and innovative ideas. Let St. Cecilia and the nine muses do the rest.
Be sure not to miss our next production:
“Not In My Town” the Matthew Shepard musical drama