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Gothic glory surrounds Bluebeard’s Castle

Media Release
18 April 2006

Gothic glory surrounds Bluebeard’s Castle

Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s only opera Bluebeard’s Castle is one of the greatest operas written. Its combination of the lyrical, profound and powerful is almost unequalled.

On Thursday 25 May the Auckland Philharmonia, in association with NBR New Zealand Opera and “Stamp” – Creative Development at The Edge, presents the first full performance of this work in Auckland.

Bartók’s opera takes the old horror story of 17th century figure Gilles de Rais, dubbed the “wickedest man in the world”, and turns it into a moving, metaphorical exploration of what makes people individuals and couples.

The music of Bluebeard’s Castle is incomparably rich, and the work is at once a brooding Gothic fable and a profound insight into human intimacy.

In this production, Hungarian bass Ferenc Cserhalmi plays Bluebeard (a role for which he is renowned in Europe), with acclaimed New Zealand dramatic soprano Margaret Medlyn playing his wife Judith.

Bluebeard’s Castle is conducted by experienced English opera conductor Stephen Barlow – and is performed in Hungarian with surtitles.

Prior to the performance of Bluebeard’s Castle the audience is treated to two of the opera’s forerunners, Liszt’s immortal Les Préludes and from Strauss’ opera Salome, the seductive and poisonous Dance of the Seven Veils.

Auckland Philharmonia OPERA IN CONCERT: Bluebeard’s Castle
Thursday 25 May – 8pm, Auckland Town Hall
TICKETS: Adults $35-$80; concessions available (service fees may apply)
BOOKINGS: Ticketek Orchestra Hotline ph. (09) 307 5139 or visit

Opera in Concert: Bluebeard’s Castle is presented in association with NBR New Zealand Opera and “Stamp” – Creative Development at The Edge. The Auckland Philharmonia receives major funding from Creative New Zealand and major grants from Auckland City and the ASB Charitable Trust.


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