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20 March 2020 (Fri), 19:00 Brilliant Classical Stanislavsky Ballet and Opera theatre (established 1887, founded by Stanislavsky) - Opera Evening of one-act operas: "Oedipus rex" by Igor Stravinsky and "A kekszaksllu herceg vara (Bluebeard's Castle)" by Bela Bartok

Running time: 2 hours 55 minutes (till 21:55)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Evening of one-act operas: "Oedipus rex" by Igor Stravinsky and "A kekszaksllu herceg vara (Bluebeard's Castle)" by Bela Bartok 2021-2022

Orchestra: Stanislavsky theatre symphony orchestra
Opera company: Stanislavsky opera

Opera in 2 act

Music by Igor Stravinsky / Béla Bartók

Libretto by Jean Cocteau / Béla Balázs

Music Director and Conductor Felix Korobov

Stage Director Rimas Tuminas

Set Designer Adomas Jacovskis

Costume Designer Maria Danilova

Lighting Designer Damir Ismagilov

Principal Chorus Master Stanislav Lykov


World premiere of "Oedipus Rex": 30 May 1927, Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt, Paris 

World premiere of the first production of "Oedipus Rex": February 23, 1928, Vienna State Opera

World premiere of "A kékszakállú herceg vára": May 24, 1918, The Hungarian National Opera, Budapest

Premiere of the new production: 16 March 2017
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre


The score for "Oedipus Rex" has been made available by Boosey & Hawkes
The score for "A kékszakállú herceg vára" has been made available by Universal Edition


"Oedipus Rex" 

Oedipus rex is an "Opera-oratorio after Sophocles" by Igor Stravinsky, scored for orchestra, speaker, soloists, and male chorus. The libretto, based on Sophocles's tragedy, was written by Jean Cocteau in French and then translated by Abbe Jean Daniélou into Latin; the narration, however, is performed in the language of the audience.

Oedipus rex was written towards the beginning of Stravinsky's neoclassical period. He had considered setting the work in Ancient Greek, but decided ultimately on Latin: in his words "a medium not dead but turned to stone."

Performance history

Oedipus rex is sometimes performed in the concert hall as an oratorio, similarly to its original performance in the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris on 30 May 1927,and at its American premiere the following year, given by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Harvard Glee Club.

It has also been presented on stage as an opera, the first such performance being at the Vienna State Opera on 23 February 1928. It was subsequently presented three times by the Santa Fe Opera in 1960, 1961, and 1962 with the composer in attendance. In January 1962 it was performed in Washington, D.C., by the Opera Society of Washington (now the Washington National Opera) with the composer conducting.

In 1960 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, a production by Colin Graham, directed by Michel Saint-Denis, conducted by Colin Davis and designed by Abd’Elkader Farrah. Oedipus was sung by Australian tenor Ronald Dowd with actor Michael Hordern as narrator. Although the performance's narration was in English, the company moved from its normal English-language practice and the singing remained in the original Latin. This was part of a double bill, the second opera being Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle.


A production directed by Julie Taymor starring Philip Langridge, Jessye Norman, Min Tanaka, and Bryn Terfel was performed at the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto in Japan in 1992 and filmed by Taymor for television. Another filmed rendition survives from 1973, conducted by Leonard Bernstein during his sixth and last lecture for the Charles Eliot Norton chair at Harvard University.


Synopsis ("Oedipus Rex")

Act 1

The Narrator greets the audience, explaining the nature of the drama they are about to see, and setting the scene: Thebes is suffering from a plague, and the men of the city lament it loudly. Oedipus, king of Thebes and conqueror of the Sphinx, promises to save the city. Creon, brother-in-law to Oedipus, returns from the oracle at Delphi and declaims the words of the gods: Thebes is harboring the murderer of Laius, the previous king. It is the murderer who has brought the plague upon the city. Oedipus promises to discover the murderer and cast him out. He questions Tiresias, the soothsayer, who at first refuses to speak. Angered at this silence, Oedipus accuses him of being the murderer himself. Provoked, Tiresias speaks at last, stating that the murderer of the king is a king. Terrified, Oedipus then accuses Tiresias of being in league with Creon, whom he believes covets the throne. With a flourish from the chorus, Jocasta appears.

Act 2

Jocasta calms the dispute by telling all that the oracles always lie. An oracle had predicted that Laius would die at his son's hand, when in fact he was murdered by bandits at the crossing of three roads. This frightens Oedipus further: he recalls killing an old man at a crossroads before coming to Thebes. A messenger arrives: King Polybus of Corinth, whom Oedipus believes to be his father, has died. However, it is now revealed that Polybus was only the foster-father of Oedipus, who had been, in fact, a foundling. An ancient shepherd arrives: it was he who had found the child Oedipus in the mountains. Jocasta, realizing the truth, flees. At last, the messenger and shepherd state the truth openly: Oedipus is the child of Laius and Jocasta, killer of his father, husband of his mother. Shattered, Oedipus leaves. The messenger reports the death of Jocasta: she has hanged herself in her chambers. Oedipus breaks into her room and puts out his eyes with her pin. He departs Thebes forever as the chorus at first vents their anger, and then mourns the loss of the king they loved.


"A kekszaksllu herceg vara" 

Bluebeard's Castle (Hungarian: A kekszakallu herceg vara; literally: The Blue-Bearded Duke's Castle) is a one-act opera by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. The libretto was written by Bela Balazs, a poet and friend of the composer, and is written in Hungarian, based on the French literary tale "La Barbe bleue" by Charles Perrault. The opera lasts only a little over an hour and there are only two singing characters onstage: Bluebeard (Kekszakallu), and his new wife Judith (Judit ); the two have just eloped and Judith is coming home to Bluebeard's castle for the first time.

Bluebeard's Castle was composed in 1911 (with modifications made in 1912 and a new ending added in 1917) and first performed on 24 May 1918 in at the Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest. Universal Edition published the vocal (1921) and full score (1925). The Boosey & Hawkes full score includes only the German and English singing translations while the Dover edition reproduces the Universal Edition Hungarian/German vocal score (with page numbers beginning at 1 instead of 5). A revision of the UE vocal score in 1963 added a new German translation by Wilhelm Ziegler, but seems not to have corrected any errata. Universal Edition and Bartók Records has published a new edition of the work in 2005 with new English translation by Peter Bartók, accompanied by extensive errata list.


Synopsis "A kekszaksllu herceg vara" 

Place: A huge, dark hall in a castle, with seven locked doors.

Time: Not defined.

Judith and Bluebeard arrive at his castle, which is all dark. Bluebeard asks Judith if she wants to stay and even offers her an opportunity to leave, but she decides to stay. Judith insists that all the doors be opened, to allow light to enter into the forbidding interior, insisting further that her demands are based on her love for Bluebeard. Bluebeard refuses, saying that they are private places not to be explored by others, and asking Judith to love him but ask no questions. Judith persists, and eventually prevails over his resistance.

The first door opens to reveal a torture chamber, stained with blood. Repelled, but then intrigued, Judith pushes on. Behind the second door is a storehouse of weapons, and behind the third a storehouse of riches. Bluebeard urges her on. Behind the fourth door is a secret garden of great beauty; behind the fifth, a window onto Bluebeard's vast kingdom. All is now sunlit, but blood has stained the riches, watered the garden, and grim clouds throw blood-red shadows over Bluebeard's kingdom.

Bluebeard pleads with her to stop: the castle is as bright as it can get, and will not get any brighter, but Judith refuses to be stopped after coming this far, and opens the penultimate sixth door, as a shadow passes over the castle. This is the first room that has not been somehow stained with blood; a silent silvery lake is all that lies within, "a lake of tears". Bluebeard begs Judith to simply love him, and ask no more questions. The last door must be shut forever. But she persists, asking him about his former wives, and then accusing him of having murdered them, suggesting that their blood was the blood everywhere, that their tears were those that filled the lake, and that their bodies lie behind the last door. At this, Bluebeard hands over the last key.

Behind the door are Bluebeard's three former wives, but still alive, dressed in crowns and jewellery. They emerge silently, and Bluebeard, overcome with emotion, prostrates himself before them and praises each in turn (as his wives of dawn, midday and dusk), finally turning to Judith and beginning to praise her as his fourth wife (of the night). She is horrified and begs him to stop, but it is too late. He dresses her in the jewellery they wear, which she finds exceedingly heavy. Her head drooping under the weight, she follows the other wives along a beam of moonlight through the seventh door. It closes behind her, and Bluebeard is left alone as all fades to total darkness.

Schedule for Evening of one-act operas: "Oedipus rex" by Igor Stravinsky and "A kekszaksllu herceg vara (Bluebeard's Castle)" by Bela Bartok 2021-2022

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