Oper Frankfurt perform Dido and Aeneas and Bluebeard’s Castle at 2013 Edinburgh International Festival
2013 Opera Company of the Year perform double bill of one-act works from Purcell and Bartok at EIF
This article is from 2013.
If the people of Oper Frankfurt appear to have a spring in their step during their Edinburgh run this August, there may well be a perfectly valid reason. At the recent International Opera Awards ceremony at London’s Hilton Park Lane Hotel, they received the Opera Company of the Year prize. For this year’s International Festival showing, they are performing a double bill of one-act works separated by a couple of centuries but tied together in theme.
Henry Purcell made his operatic debut in the 1680s with Dido and Aeneas. Derived from the masque tradition, it tells the story of the Queen of Carthage’s love for a Trojan warrior which turns to pitiful despair when he is misled by malevolent forces into abandoning her. Not for nothing is ‘Dido’s Lament’ the most famous aria in the score. Meanwhile, Bluebeard’s Castle was Béla Bartók’s only opera, the Hungarian penning it in 1911 (though a new ending was added six years later). Based on Charles Perrault’s fairytale, it tells of the dark goings-on behind heavily-closed doors in the titular building as Judith begins life with her new husband only to discover some terrible secrets and hidden horrors.
The sumptuously colourful production of Dido and Aeneas is in stark contrast to the black and white of Bluebeard’s Castle as the central characters meet their fates in diverse but equally shocking ways. A weekend of true delights for fans of doom-laden opera.
Festival Theatre, 24 & 25 Aug.