Speakeysie News Desk 9/9/2022
This Telling Examines the Weight of Dementia on a Decades-Long Marriage
ATLANTA – The Atlanta Opera’s acclaimed Discoveries Series opens the 2022-23 season with the North American premiere of a new production of Bela Bartók’s one-act chamber opera Bluebeard’s Castle.
Traditionally presented as a psychological thriller or Gothic horror as the lover uncovers the secrets of Bluebeard’s past, this production centers the story on the loss of a loved partner to the ravages of dementia in a way that will resonate with anyone who has dealt with aging partners or parents.
Presented in partnership with Kennesaw State University’s School of Music, Bluebeard’s Castle will be staged at the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center on October 7, 8 and 9. Tickets are $50 ($40 student/military/senior) and can be purchased directly through the Kennesaw State University College of the Arts or by calling The Atlanta Opera box office at 404-881-8885. The opera will be performed in English.
“We’ve been excited about this adaptation of Bluebeard’s Castle since its debut in the UK,” says Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun. “This is a production that resonates with so many of us who have struggled through caregiving and loss. As we approach nearly a decade ofDiscoveries performances throughout the community, I can say with certainty that Bluebeard’s Castle fits the ethos of the series perfectly. We are proud of our partnership with Kennesaw State University College of the Arts for this U.S. premiere.”
The Atlanta Opera Discoveries Series, which will celebrate 10 years next season, has been widely recognized for presenting new works, new ideas and fresh perspectives. As part of The Atlanta Opera’s efforts to bring opera to new audiences across the Atlanta metro area, these productions have been performed in exciting alternative venues such as Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Le Maison Rouge and Pullman Yards as well as smaller traditional theaters throughout the metro area.
In the spring, The Atlanta Opera will present its second Discoveries production for the 2022-23 season, The Snowy Dayby composer Joel Thompson and librettist Andrea David Pinkney, in partnership with the Morehouse College School of Music.
This production of Bluebeard’s Castle will be led by its creators, director Daisy Evans and conductor Stephen Higgins, together the creative force behind England’s Theatre of Sound. Michael Mayes re-unites with Susan Bullock as Bluebeard and Judith, roles they created for the world premiere of this production in London.
Equally at home in standard operatic repertoire, Higgins has conducted Owen Wingrave for the Opera de Paris; The Magic Flute for ENO; L’Elisir d’amore for Opera Holland Park; Don Giovanni for the Porto festival; La bohème, Hansel and Gretel, and The Magic Flute for young singers’ company, Co-opera-co. Since January 2016, he has been Head of Music at Bergen Nasjonale opera in Norway.
Evans works in opera, film and theatre as a director and writer. She is the recipient of the Sky Arts Futures Fund for her work as an opera director, specifically for founding and creating the innovative Silent Opera. She has been nominated for Young Director at the International Opera Awards and won Best Opera Production for her production of Cosi Fan Tutte at the OffWestEnd Theatre Awards in 2012.
Mayes, whose portrayals of Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking and Col. Jim Thompson in Glory Denied have become definitive, is well known to Atlanta audiences, having starred in Dead Man Walking here, a filmed version of Glory Denied, as well as Sweeney Todd, The Kaiser of Atlantis and Carmen.
Bullock, one of the world’s most sought-after dramatic sopranos, is best known for her portrayal of Wagner’s Brünnhilde, which garnered outstanding praise and led her to become the first ever soprano to sing four consecutive cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House. She is making her The Atlanta Opera debut.
About The Atlanta Opera
The Atlanta Opera’s mission is to build the major international opera company that Atlanta deserves, while reimagining what opera can be. Founded in 1979, the company works with world-renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers who seek to enhance the art form. Under the leadership of internationally recognized stage director and Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, The Atlanta Opera expanded from three to four mainstage productions at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and launched the acclaimed Discoveries series. In recent years, the company has been named among the “Best of 2015” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been nominated for a 2016 International Opera Award, and won ArtsATL’s 2019 Luminary Award for Community Engagement in recognition of its successful Veterans Program in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation. In addition, The Atlanta Opera was featured in a 2018 Harvard Business School case study about successful organizational growth, and Zvulun presented a TEDx Talk at Emory University titled “The Ambidextrous Opera Company, or Opera in the Age of iPhones.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Atlanta Opera was one of the only companies in the world to create a full, alternative season, consisting of no less than 40 live performances in two different outdoor venues, including a revolutionary custom-designed circus tent. The fundraising goal was tripled, and four new productions were created, each of which employed 150 cast, crew and staff. The critically acclaimed productions and concerts were streamed in HD in the newly created streaming platform “Spotlight Media,” allowing The Atlanta Opera to reach a global audience. National media coverage of the “pandemic season” included features in the Wall Street Journal and PBS Newshour. For more information, visit atlantaopera.org.
By Bela Bartók
Libretto by Bela Balázs
English translation by Daisy Evans
Running time is approximately 60 minutes.
Conductor: Stephen Higgins
Stage Director: Daisy Evans
Set and costume design: Adrian Linford
Bluebeard: Michael Mayes
Judith: Susan Bullock