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Thread: Bartok's only opera?

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    Member cato's Avatar
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    Question Bartok's only opera?

    I recently bought Bluebeard's Castle, which is reported to be Bartok's only opera. Is this true?

    What do you think of the work?

    I love it! I could call it, very dramatic and "visual", the way it brings forth "pictures" in my mind's eye.

    Now, I understand that some people don't really consider this an "opera", but whatever it is, I think it's an outstanding work. (And I'm not even a Bartok fan. )

    By the way, a few weeks ago, the Seattle Symphony put on a proformance of this work, sorry I missed it.
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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Yes, the only one, an early-ish work around 1911 if I remember. But the endings were modified - I think there are three - maybe because the work wasn't accepted at first. I haven't listened to it for a while. It hasn't been performed in London in my time (I don't think so anyway) or I might have gone to see it!

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    Senior Member zlya's Avatar
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    Who says it's not an opera? It's fabulous! Don't worry about the modified endings, Bartok was a modifier and a perfectionist in all of his works. It's rare to find a Bartok piece that wasn't modified several times! (I have a friend who specializes in studying Bartok manuscripts). The final door is particularly striking, when he builds up the different themes (the pentatonic Bluebeard, the semitonal Judith, and the woodwind octatonic) into that huge, shocking 12-tone conglomerate, which almost immediately collapses into near nothingness, and the final pentatonic, when Judith is gone and Bluebeard alone once more.

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    Member cato's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great comments and insights.

    I am happy that I bought this work, and I play it a lot on my CD player.

    It is so different then his other works, and I think it's a trubute to his greatness as a composer. Like I said, I'm not even a Bartok fan, and I love this opera. And yes, I agree you guys, it is an opera, no matter what anyone else says.
    Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio.
    Home of The Cleveland Orchestra

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    Just out of curiosity, what do those who say it is not an opera call it? Although it is small in scale (two characters, one act), I think it is a great example of what happens in opera, the way music and text come together. I've never seen a production, but with the music Bartók paints the pictures so vividly that I don't think I'm missng much.

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