Bluebeard’s Castle

by Bartók 

The English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) complete their first year of Music from Wyastone virtual concerts with a concert performance of Bartók’s one-act opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, written in 1911.

The performance, which premieres on ESO Digital on the 13th of August, marks the first performance of a new arrangement of the opera by the Australian conductor and arranger, Chris van Tuinen, revised by the ESO’s Assistant Conductor, Michael Karcher-Young.

Vocally, David (Stout) and April (Fredrick), are just perfect for these two roles, which in many ways fall in between the cracks of our normal voice types. Both roles need a mix of power and lyricism, and ease and projection at both the extreme upper and lower end of their registers,” says conductor Kenneth Woods.

Bartók’s opera is based on a libretto by the Jewish-Hungarian writer and critic, Béla Balázs. Balázs wrote the libretto for their mutual friend, Zoltán Kodály.

The work is sung in Hungarian and will have English subtitles.

English Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Woods, conductor

Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “a symphonic conductor of stature”, American conductor Kenneth Woods was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra in 2013, and has quickly built up an impressive and acclaimed body of work with them.

April Fredrick, soloist

April is a soprano with a passion for nuance and text which gets to the heart of both music and character. Her orchestral collaborations include Britten’s Les Illuminations and Shostakovich’s intense, uncompromising Symphony 14 with the Orchestra of the Swan, Berlioz’ Les Nuits d’Été  with the Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra, Villa-Lobos Bachianias Brasilieras no. 5 and Gorécki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs with the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity, and she has sung Strauss’s Four Last Songs, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Mahler Symphony no. 4 and Mozart’s C Minor Mass with ensembles throughout the UK.

David Stout, soloist

A former Head Chorister of Westminster Abbey, David studied Zoology at Durham University, sang with the choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge University and studied Opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Rudolf Piernay. Operatic roles include Leporello Don Giovanni, Figaro Figaro Gets a Divorce (Grand Théâtre de Genève and Welsh National Opera); Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro and Fritz Kothner The Meistersinger (English National Opera and Welsh National Opera); Papageno Die Zauberflöte (Welsh National Opera); Dr Bartolo Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Oslo); Gratiano The Merchant of Venice, Napoleon War and Peace and Roucher Andrea Chenier (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden); Angelotti Tosca and Sancho Pança Don Quichotte (Bregenz Festival); Rodrigo Don Carlo and Ford Falstaff (Grange Park Opera); Don Pasquale (title role) for Longborough Festival.

The concert is available to enjoy free, online Friday, August 13th, at 2:30pm ET until Tuesday, August 17, 2021