Opera Grand Avignon: Senza Sangue & Bluebeard’s Castle at Hackney Empire

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Hackney Empire and the Armel Opera Festival present the Opera Grand Avignon production of Senza Sangue & Bluebeard's Castle. This rare double bill Performance will take place for one night only with a full scale Orchestra by the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra taking over the stalls area of the Hackney Empire. Seating will be from Dress Circle, Upper Circle & Gallery.

With staging from multi-award winning directors Robert Alfoldi & Nadine Duffaut.

Senza Sangue

Peter Eotvos' psychothriller-opera Senza Sangue (Bloodless) is designated to be paired with Bluebeard. The opera takes place in a country suffering civil war, and is based on the remarkable Italian writer, Alessandro Baricco's novel of the same name. The story's protagonist Nina escapes the murderers of her bother and father as a young girl by seeking shelter in a hole in the ground. One of the attackers notices her, but does not tell the others about her.

Decades later the girl meets the man in a lottery shop. The recognition terrifies him. His fellow murdereds are long dead and the circumstances of their death were not clear: will Pedro be the next?

The opera begins with their meeting and flashbacks of the murders. The viewer does not know whether the woman is actually behind the death of the man's accomplices, nor what her next step is going to be.

Bluebeard's Castle

Bluebeard's Castle (1911) is Bela Bartok's only one act opera. The libretto was written by Bela Balazs. Bluebeard had its premiere in 1918 at the Opera House in Budapest, but only its remake twenty years later, in 1938 can be considered a veritable success.

The opera has folksy and balladistic roots. The two main characters are Bluebeard and Judith, his new wife. Bluebeard takes his new wife to his castle. Judith had heard foreboding rumors of this dark place, but she follows her husband trustingly. Arriving to the castle she finds seven closed doors. Her intent to unearth the secrets of the castle carries a symbolic meaning: what she truly wants is to figure out the hidden secrets of Bluebeard's soul. He is aware that Judit's forceful curiosity will lead to tragedy. He he asks Judit not to open these closed doors, as opening them will be fatal and will bring eternal loneliness for them both instead of the long awaited happiness.

But Judith does not obey his request. When from behind the seventh most guarded door three previous wives of Bluebeard emerge, there is no way of turning back for her. Judit enters the seventh room, their story ends, all she can be now is a part of his past.

The relationship between man and woman occupies a prominent place among the evergreen topics of opera, especially since the Romantic tradition. This relationship has always been presented and interpreted according to the characteristics of given era.

The two stories have a different ending: Bluebeard's Castle is covered in eternal darkness while the charaters of Senza sangue are facing an open road leading them towards the light at the end of their lives.

Venue Details & Map

Hackney Empire Theatre

291 Mare Street
E8 1EJ
+44 (0)20 8985 2424

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