Inside Bluebeard's Castle

Inside Bluebeard's Castle : Music and Drama in Bela Bartok's Opera

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This is the first book-length examination of Bartok's 1911 opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle, one of the twentieth century's enduring operatic works. Writing in an engaging style, Leafstedt adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the opera by introducing, in addition to music-dramatic analysis, a number of topics that are new to the field of Bartok studies. These new areas of critical and scholarly terrain include a detailed literary study of the libretto and a gender-focused analysis of the opera's female character, Judith. Leafstedt begins with a short introductory chapter that places Duke Bluebeard's Castle within the context of Bartok's early composing career, his discovery of folk music, and its impact on his later work. The book goes on to explore the composition's troubled history, its failure to win two early Hungarian opera competitions, and the three versions of the ending that resulted, discussed here in depth for the first time. The core of the book is devoted to the musical and dramatic organization of the opera and offers an analysis of the seven individual door scenes, including a detailed analysis of scene six, the "lake of tears" scene, illustrating the work's complex tonal organization and dramatic structure. A separate chapter places this darkly psychological version of the Bluebeard story within the broader context of European history and literature. Throughout the book, Leafstedt draws on original Hungarian source material, much of it newly translated by the author and available here for the first time in English, and he includes a generous selection of musical examples. Inside Bluebeard's Castle is an ideal starting point for research in twentieth-century music, Hungarian cultural history, and opera studies, as well as an invaluable guide for anyone interested in Bartok's only more

Product details

  • Paperback | 254 pages
  • 154 x 226 x 18mm | 399.17g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • numerous halftones and musical examples
  • 0195181964
  • 9780195181968
  • 1,479,024

Review quote

"Because of Leafstedt's deep study, we go through the seven doors of Bluebeard's castle, musically and dramatically. On this extended journey we gain a better understanding of the intricacies of the plot and the dramatic action. His thorough examination of the folklore surrounding the myth of Bluebeard proves quite enlightening." - - The Opera Journal "Leafstedt has made a great contribution to the scholarly material available on Bartok."-The Opera Journal "...[Leafsteadt] thoroughly and imaginatively examines Judith's character and the psychological implications of the Bluebeard legend. Writing in an accessible style based on sound scholarship, the author unites literary and musical sources. This unique, high-level study of an important early-20th-century masterpiece should appeal to graduate students, researchers, and faculty."-Choiceshow more

Table of contents

Introduction ; PART I. Bartok, Balazs, and the Creation of a Modern Hungarian Opera ; 1. Bartok, Balazs, and the Creation of Bluebeard's Castle ; 2. Bluebeard as Theater: The Dramatic Heritage of Balazs's Symbolist Play ; PART II. Music and Drama in Bluebeard's Castle ; 3. The Music of Bluebeard's Castle ; 4. Analysis of Individual Scenes ; - Prologue ; - Torture Chamber ; - Armory ; - Treasury ; - Garden ; - Bluebeard's Domains ; - Lake of Tears ; - Former Wives ; 5. Bartok's Revisions to the Opera, 1911-1917 ; PART III. Contextual Studies ; 6. The Bluebeard Story in Turn-of-the-Century Literature ; 7. Judith: The Significance of a Name ; Appendix. Duke Bluebeard's Castle: Notes on the text by Bela Balazs, circa 1915show more

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