Review: Buffalo Phil’s “Bluebeard’s Castle,” with Chihuly glass sculptures

Posted on: October 3, 2014

In Friday’s (10/3) Buffalo News (New York), Mary Kunz Goldman reviews the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s semistaged production of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle on Wednesday, led by BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta. “An all-ages crowd filled Kleinhans Music Hall, leaving only a few empty seats far in the back. There was another draw, of course, besides the drama itself. That was the glass by popular artist Dale Chihuly—weird, iridescent sculptures that would be revealed as the opera unfolded. The sculptures sat hidden in black containers that looked ominous spread across the Kleinhans stage. They added greatly to the ambience…. Bartók’s orchestration … calls for extra musicians…. You felt the full wallop of the score.… The blasting brass! The timpani’s thump of doom! You not only heard them, you felt them. Good thing that glass didn’t shatter. Chihuly’s sculptures were impressive…. The glass had a haunting effect no matter where you were. The black backgrounds could make it seem as if you were looking into endless darkness. The sculpture suggesting Bluebeard’s kingdom was especially effective…. You could see the twinkling glass as a city in the night, stretching into the distance…. Overall, it was a big success. I think the memory will haunt us, in the best sense.” The Chihuly production was premiered by the Seattle Symphony, and will be presented in March 2015 by the Wichita Symphony.

Posted October 3, 20140

Pictured: “The Armory,” one of six glass sculptures in the Buffalo Philharmonic’s semistaged production of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle