Andres Orozco Estrada and the Houston Symphony Brings the 2018/2019 Season to a Close
For its 2018-2019 Classical Series finale, the Houston Symphony under Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada performs Béla Bartók's operatic masterpiece Bluebeard's Castle in a gala-cast performance for two nights only at 8 p.m. May 16 & 17 in Jones Hall.
In the role of Judith is dramatic American mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, particularly renowned for her Wagnerian roles and her expansive three-octave range. DeYoung virtually owns the role of Judith on the world opera stage today. "I think [Bluebeard's Castle] is one of the greatest pieces ever written," she says, estimating that she's sung Judith more than 100 times in her illustrious career, having recorded it commercially under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Joining her as Duke Bluebeard is German baritone Matthias Goerne in his Houston Symphony debut. One of his generation's premier singers, Goerne is in high demand worldwide as much for recitals as for opera, and he is renowned for bringing a scrupulous attention to text and interpretive detail to his operatic roles.
Bluebeard's Castle is Bartók's first and only opera and is widely considered his masterpiece. Joining the musical team to bring this riveting psychological thriller to life is Creative Director Adam Larsen, who is designing and realizing the visual elements for this production. Larsen's animated visual projections transform the Jones Hall stage into Duke Bluebeard's enigmatic, foreboding castle. "There will be projections onto three layers of strings suspended above the orchestra," says Larsen. "When a projection-for instance a door-hits the first layer, it passes through the second layer, but magnified, and even more so when it hits the third layer."
Written by Béla Balázs, the opera's libretto opens as the infamous Duke Bluebeard brings his new wife, Judith, home to his alarmingly dark castle. Declaring her love for Bluebeard, Judith sets about opening doors to bring light into the gloomy interior. One by one she opens seven doors, revealing a torture chamber, a weaponry, a treasury, a garden, the expanse of Bluebeard's lands, and a lake of tears. Despite Bluebeard's warnings and pleas, Judith opens the seventh and final door, to reveal Bluebeard's three previous wives, which she must now join. Prior to the evening's performance, audience members can enjoy an immersive experience.
For tickets and information, please call 713.224.7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.