[img]http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.3/4164?ns=guardian&pageName=Duke+Bluebeard%27s+Castle+by+B%C3%A9la+Bart%C3%B3k%3AArticle%3A1311254&ch=Music&c3=GU.co.uk&c4=Opera+%28Music+genre%29%2CClassical+music+%28Music+genre%29%2CStage%2CCulture+section&c6=John+Crace&c7=09-Nov-28&c8=1311254&c9=Article&c10=Feature&c11=Music&c13=Digested+classics+%28series%29&c25=&c30=content&h2=GU%2FMusic%2FOpera[/img]John Crace boils down Bartók's blood-spattered opera
A dark Gothic hall, with seven closed doors
Bluebeard: Here we are now / See before you Bluebeard's Castle / It doesn't look very nice / Are you coming?
Judith: Yes, I'm coming / Dearest.
Bluebeard: Everything is very bad / Everyone is very sad / Are you coming?
Judith: Are you deaf? / Or something? / I just said / I'm coming / Dearest.
Bluebeard: Are you frightened? / Child.
Judith: Why do you call me child? / I'm meant to be your wife.
Bluebeard: There's no avoidin' / It's all quite Freudian.
Judith: Very well then / Daddy-y-y / No, I'm not frightened.
Bluebeard: Well if you listened / To the music / You would know / You ought to be.
Judith: Darling, Bluebeardy / Don't ever leave me / Though my parents don't like you / I just adore you.
Bluebeard: Then let's close the door-r-r.
Judith: It's really quite roomy / But terribly gloomy.
Bluebeard: I am too depressed / And messed / Up, for daylight / Wouldn't it be better / If you went home / To your real daddy?
Judith: Never-r-r! / I long to make Bluebeard / Just a little less weird / But why are all the doors closed?
Bluebeard: So you can make a drama of opening them up / You fool.
Judith: Though the strings are well chromatic / The action sounds quite static.
Bluebeard: Your voice becomes a little bolder / Count your blessings, this ain't Tristan and Isolde / Yet do not expect me much to move / My legs are as frozen / As my soul.
Judith: These doors must open to the sun / So we can have tremendous fun.
Bluebeard: Naught can glitter here.
Judith: But if we don't open the doors / The opera has already run its course.
Bluebeard: Verily-y-y / You have a point / With this key / I thee anoint / But be careful / The locks are a bit stiff / Like me.
Judith: Oh thank you, thank you / Darling heart / You won't regret it.
Bluebeard: You haven't got / The hang of this / At all / Have you?
Judith: Don't be such a misery / Let me shine a light on thee / Oh-h-h ...
Bluebeard: What do you see?
Judith: In your first room / A torture chamber / With blood-stained walls!
Bluebeard: Don't be such a fearful prude / Let not female sensibilities intrude!
Judith: Quite right, my clever man / The blood stains / Are a bit like / The crimson sunrise / When you think about it / A bit / Let's open some more doors / Because I love you.
Bluebeard: I just wondered / If you had noticed / I've never said / I love you too.
Judith: No-o-o / I hadn't / And I don't care / Because I am so co-dependent / I only exist / To make you gleam / In the bright light stream.
Bluebeard: Behind the second door?
Judith: Your blo-o-o-ody weapons / And blo-o-o-ody armour / How terrible / Though when you think / About it / A bit / They do make you look / Quite tough / And handsome.
Bluebeard: Very well / My bride / Three more keys I give you / Just don't ask me / Any awkward questions / About what you see / Can you guess what is behind the doors?
Judith: No-o-o / Because I am naive / And stupid!
Bluebeard: You're going to regret / This.
Judith: But I-I-I will / Always love you-u-u.
Bluebeard: You're really / Going to regret / This.
Judith: Mountain of gems! / Ingots of gold!
Bluebeard: My treasury is thine.
Judith: But all covered / With blood.
Bluebeard: Are you noticing / A theme / Here.
Judith: Behind the fourth door / A secret garden / Yet the soil is / Blood-red.
Bluebeard: You still don't get it / Do you?
Judith: And here the fifth / Your kingdom / With lots of red bits / Too / Surprisingly.
Bluebeard: How the castle starts to shine / Come and place your lips on mine!
Judith: First we must open / These last two doors.
Bluebeard: They must / Stay closed.
Judith: You know / That's not / An option.
Bluebeard: OK then / If you must / What se-e-e-est thou?
Judith: It's rather disappointing / Just some tranquil water.
Bluebeard: My vale of tears / My dearest dear / Now kiss me sweet / Ere the last door you greet.
Judith: Tell me / Tell me / Dearest man / Whom you have loved / Ere I came along?
Bluebeard: It's all a bit much / I'm losing my touch / I really didn't see / That one coming.
Judith: Then the rumours are true! / You murdered all / Your previous wives / And they are behind / The seventh door.
Bluebeard: Isn't it a bit late / To be bringing up / All that crap? / Shouldn't you have mentioned this / Before we got married?
Judith: Don't be such a bore / Open up that door!
Bluebeard: Take the key / All my wives await thee!
Judith: Joyously dazzling / Living and breathing!
Bluebeard: Matchless beauties / Forever immortal / Standing silent / Behind the portal.
Judith: See the three / So much prettier than me!
Bluebeard: Ne'er mind, she's so shallow / Her body I hallow / Then to be fair / I felt pretty much the same / Way about the others.
Judith: They are rich and so pretty / I feel rather shitty.
Bluebeard: You are the fourth ...
Judith: You're acting all queer / Can't you see I'm still here?
Bluebeard (placing crown on her head): Thine is now / The crown of diamonds.
Judith: It feels awful heavy / Making my neck ache / So I can talk no more.
The seventh door closes behind her.
Bluebeard: I love my wives so much / That I lock them up! / I'm not quite so sure / Why they love me / But still / Four is enough / So henceforth, darkness / Unless I meet / A total babe.
â€˘ Duke Bluebeard's Castle is in rep at English National Opera until 28 November 2009.
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Guardian: Duke Bluebeard's Castle by Béla Bartók
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