Notes & Reviews:
Many authors have portrayed this work in various forms - as fairy-tale, narrative, novel, drama, and opera. Among the best-known works are the fairy-tale by Ludwig Bechstein, Jacques Offenbach's operetta, the opera "Ariane et Barbe-Bleu" by Paul Dukas - as well as the most prominent work - the opera "Bluebeard's Castle" by Béla Bartók.
The view regarding Bluebeard and his last wife - who is the culprit? who is the victim? - has changed over the centuries since Perrault published his fairy-tale in Paris 1697. However, a similar analysis of the "battle of the sexes" was presented by Paul Dukas in 1907, ten years before the premiere of Béla Bartók's work, and first performed at the Opera-comique in Paris. Thereby the composer set a text by the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck to music.
From the archives of Westdeutsche Rundfunk Köln this studio recording, produced in 1986, is presented here for the first time on CD.
a recording with modern sound that brings out the full glory of Dukas's luminous score. From the very first bar Gary Bertini reveals a mastery of the score that puts in the shade all but Bertrand de Billy, achieving a menacing quality and tension missing elsewhere, and surging to brilliant effect at key orchestral moments such as the opening of the various doors of Bluebeard's castle to reveal ever greater hordes of priceless jewels.
American Record Guide
Both conductors and orchestras truly exploit Dukas's superb orchestration. And praise also to the fine choruses. All the colors depicting the jewels behind Bluebeard's doors dazzle the ears. Who says such impressionist operas have to sound wimpy? If you have a spirit of adventure, do investigate these sets.
Capriccio takes top honors with Taillon... the Capriccio set has consistently come out on top in the rankings...
A splendid 1986 recording fromt he archives of Cologne Radio. From the very first bar Gary Bertini reveals mastery of the score that puts in the shade all but Bertrand de Billy...As for the main singers, Bertini has the most natural pairing in Marilyn Schmeige and Jocelyne Taillon - expressive, secure in intonation, well coupled and well contrasted...Altogether this newcomer seems to me a clear winner all round.