Duke Bluebeard's Castle

Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G-major, BWV 1048
Bartók Music for StringsPercussion and Celesta
--- intermission ---
Bartók The Duke Bluebeard's Castle

Featuring Andrea Rost soprano, Miklós Sebestyén bass-bariton
Conductor András Keller 

Bach and Bartók’s distant and yet complementary pairing, and not least the fact that the world premiere of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle took place a century ago almost to the day: these are the features that make these two concerts so special. András Keller and his orchestra get the programme off in fine style with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. This piece in the series that engenders fanatic respect has a problem that requires resolution: the second movement of the concerto employing (besides the harpsichord) solely strings consists of just two chords. Béla Bartók’s Music commissioned by Paul Sacher in 1936 was far from being a breakthrough in its day solely in the area of instrumentalization; these days we listen to it as one of the most important compositions of the 20th century. Bartók’s only opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, was completed in September 1911 but had to wait a further seven years, until 24 May 1918, for its debut in the Hungarian Royal Opera House. The single-act opera produced courtesy of Count Miklós Bánffy, who was blessed with considerable artistic talent and great organizational skills, initially did not win over audiences, but with time the work revolving around the loneliness of the male spirit not only became the best-known Hungarian opera but a genuine hit work as well. For this back-to-back production, international star soprano Andrea Rost from Hungary sings the part of Judith and bass baritone Miklós Sebestyén, who is also a familiar face on the stage of the New York Metropolitan, takes the role of Bluebeard.