Dukas: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue

Dukas: Ariane et Barbe-Bleue
Composer Paul Dukas
Artist Deborah Polaski soprano
Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien
Bertrand de Billy conductor
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 94254
EAN code 5028421942544
Release September 2011

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About this release

Premiered in 1907, Dukas’s opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (after a Maeterlinck tale) caused much engergetic and heated discussion in the salons of Paris. The suffragette movement was in its infancy, and the oppression of women and the rampant inequality of the sexes - themes highlighted in the opera - were risky subjects for public discussion at the time. Ariane’s magnanimous decision to let Blue Beard live at the end of the work and her refusal to obey him, was perceived as a demand for more femininity in politics. Her fight for freedom was seen as a cry for more rights for women.The treatment of the story, and the rise of National Socialism in the 1930s (Dukas was of Jewish extraction) saw to it that the work remained outside the operatic repertoire. It has however never lacked champions. Fellow composers Szymanowski, Busoni, Schoenberg, Berg and Webern were admirers.

Dukas’s score is a wonderful blend of Wagner, Richard Strauss, and impressionism. The spirit of Berlioz is also evoked in places – one can understand Bruno Walter’s admiration for the work, and his view that it ranks alongside Pelléas and Melisande as one of the great French operas.

OTHER INFORMATION:
- ‘The soundworld of Paul Dukas's only opera, a seductive mixture of Straussian opulence and French transparency, makes any performance of Ariane et Barbe-Bleue compelling, even before the teasing symbolism of Maurice Maeterlinck's libretto weaves its own spell. It is one of the great undervalued operas of the early 20th century, a proto-feminist take on the Bluebeard myth, in which Mélisande is also retrospectively revealed (after Maeterlinck's stage play and Debussy's opera based on it) as one of the serial murderer's former wives’ The Guardian 2008.
- ‘Bertrand de Billy is a strong advocate for the work in this live recording from a concert performance in the Vienna Konzerthaus. The sound is vivid enough and chorus

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: À mort! À mort! (Crowd)
  2. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Où sommes-nous?
  3. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Que faites-vous?
  4. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Prenez-les! Penchez-vous!
  5. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Ce sont de beaux saphirs
  6. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: J’en recuille une poignée qu’elles caressent les saphirs!
  7. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Oh! celles-ci sont plus vertes que le printemps
  8. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Celles-ci sont terribles, et je n’y touche point
  9. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Ô mes clairs diamants! (Nurse/Ariane)
  10. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Ariane, que faîtes-vous? (Nurse/Ariane/Underground Chant)
  11. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Vous aussi? (Bluebeard/Ariane)
  12. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 1: Que voulez-vous? (Ariane)
  13. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Prelude (Orchestra)
  14. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Écoutez! (Nurse/Ariane)
  15. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Ah! Je vous ai trouvées (Ariane)
  16. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Comment s’appele celle qui revient? (Ariane/Sélysette/Ygraine)
  17. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Mais celle qui me regarde à travers se cheveux (Ariane/Sélysette)
  18. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Où êtes-vous? (Ariane/Sélysette/Bellangère/Mélisande/Ygraine)
  19. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Voilà, celle-ci encore et encore celle-ci! (Ariane)
  20. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 2: Je vois la mer! (Sélysette/Mélisande/Ygraine/Bellangère/Ariane)

Disk 2

  1. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Prelude (Orchestra)
  2. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Nous avons pu sortir du château enchanté (Sélysette/Mélisande/Ariane/Ygraine)
  3. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Cela vient d’elle-même et se cachait en elle (Ariane/Ygraine/Bellangère)
  4. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Quelles bagues choisirai-je? (Sélysette/Ariane/Bellangère)
  5. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Il revient! Il est là! (Nurse/Ariane/Sélysette/Mélisande)
  6. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Voilà les paysans qui sortent des fossés (Nurse/Sélysette/Mélisande/Ygraine/Ariane)
  7. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Non! Pas cela! Ne le tuez pas! (Ariane and other women/Nurse/Crowd)
  8. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Madame?… On peut entrer? (Old Peasant/Second Peasant/Third Peasant/Ariane)
  9. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Vous étiez à genoux! (Ariane/Sélysette/Mélisande/Ygraine/Nurse/Bellangère)
  10. Ariane et Barbe-bleue: Act 3: Adieu (Ariane/Sélysette/Mélisande/Bellangère)