Bluebeard’s Castle/Winterreiseis a unique combination of two great classical works, whose central theme is human loneliness. In Bartók’s only opera, the curiosity of the recently married young Judith leads her to discover Duke Bluebeard’s terrible secret. Once this has been revealed, he is left in solitude. (A selection of) Schubert’s Winterreise is also quite simply an expression of human loneliness. A past or doomed love throws the main character completely back on himself and draws him closer to death.
Béla Bartók based his only opera on folklore and the fairytale Bluebeard, but gave his opera an intense existential charge. This sinister tale, which is shaped with astonishing orchestral strength, is juxtaposed with the intimate quietness of the piano notes and singing voice at the heart of Schubert’s Winterreise. In a rare, but unique combination, the Hungarian theatre and film director Kornél Mundruczó uses his talent for film imagery to weld these two works into one moving scenic whole.