As waves splash against the Flynn Cruiseport Boston, Boston Lyric Opera unleashed a chilling tale of seduction and secrets.
Conducted masterfully by David Angus and craftily stage directed by Anne Bogart, Boston Lyric Opera unearthed Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs for a limited engagement live and in person from March 22-26 at Flynn Cruiseport in South Boston’s Seaport District. The show was 90 minutes with no intermission and had some adult themes. Click here for more information and for what is next for Boston Lyric Opera.
Lauded Stage Director Anne Bogart was behind the innovative transformation of Margaret Atwood’s harrowing dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, into an opera and presented that vision in glorious triumph while the hailed author sat in attendance. See more about that experience here. Anne Bogart’s riveting vision of Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs is another brilliant and dark reckoning in which with each astounding discovery, the plot thickens.
Suspenseful, passionate, and deeply romantic, Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs heightens the emotional impact of the libretto with Alma Mahler’s multifarious Four Songs. Conducted zealously by David Angus with pianist Yukiko Oba, Four Songs as a companion piece which amplifies the magnitude of what Judith is about to see.
A mysterious and passionate tale, the real seduction behind Bluebeard’s Castle is the symbolism that results as Judith, Bluebeard’s new wife, longs to let light in and see more of his ancient castle. She desires to learn everything about Bluebeard, a man she has given everything up for including a fiancé. However, Bluebeard would rather leave well enough alone and enjoy the love they have found.
Bass-baritone Ryan McKinny as Bluebeard and mezzo-soprano Naomi Louisa O’Connell’s otherworldly and ascending vocals bring vitality and urgency to each phrase and as a duet, their blended vocals are an ethereal experience. O’Connell is stunning as willful and persistent Judith, her oceanic teal gown glimmering against her incandescent red hair as she proclaims her love and deepest wishes for Bluebeard and their future together. Boasting a thick gray beard, McKinny’s stately, rugged and romantic Bluebeard is equally persistent at first. It is fascinating to watch the duo in an impassioned verbal tug of war, their thrilling chemistry becoming more and more feverish with each request. McKinny and O’Connell also have a believable playfulness that round out their relationship and temporarily ease that mounting tension.
Trevor Bowen’s impeccable and deceptive costuming added an alluring mystique to the production with Bluebeard in velvety deep blue and purple lined with gold, Judith in aquatic teal and what seemed like dancers adorned in glittering and flowing, yet bridled garments which included Marissa Molinar, Aliza Franz, Olivia Moon, Sasha Peterson and Cassie Wang. Victoria L. Awkward does a wonderful job in keeping these clandestine individuals within this changing landscape in a perfect blend of subtlety, vulnerability and strength while Judith and Bluebeard remain at center stage.
Bogart’s spectacular staging alongside set designer Sara Brown plays a pivotal role in Bluebeard’s dark secrets and it is done with elegance and ingenuity. The vast and multi-layered kingdom is revealed in Bluebeard’s inky and lavish bedchambers in an inventive display of silk sheets as rippling rivers, a vast and boundless secret garden on a bed of roses, and mountains of peerless gold and jewels. With Brian H. Scott’s artful lighting creating shadowy and ominous tones with startling streaks of red, Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs was a foreboding tale of love, power, desire and the sacrifices one is willing to make for the truth.
Conducted masterfully by David Angus and craftily stage directed by Anne Bogart, Boston Lyric Opera unearthed Bluebeard’s Castle/Four Songs for a limited engagement live and in person from March 22-26 at Flynn Cruiseport in Boston Harbor. Click here for more information and for what is next for Boston Lyric Opera.