Behind closed doors: does love and isolation make Bartók’s Bluebeard the opera for our times?

Returning to the role of the duke’s curious young bride after the enforced silence of lockdown, Karen Cargill found Bartók’s opera more powerful and troubling than ever

We all know Bluebeard. From Jane Eyre to Kubrick’s The Shining, his castle has become shorthand for a place where dark secrets lurk behind locked doors, and the man himself has become a synonym for evil. Today’s Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Bluebeard as “a man who marries and kills one wife after another”.

But what of his young bride, his final wife?

This is a role with which it is difficult to make peace… how do we perform this role in 2020, the world of #metoo?

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