Review: Houston Symphony’s season-ending “Bluebeard’s Castle”

Posted on: May 22, 2019

“Where was all that blood coming from?” writes Chris Gray in Tuesday’s (5/21) Houston Chronicle. “Not just any orchestra would send its audience off to their Ubers pondering such a grisly question. But the Houston Symphony dramatically closed its 2018-19 classical season with a psychologically intense performance of [Bartók’s opera] ‘Bluebeard’s Castle.’ … Music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada [used] the program’s first half to introduce some key collaborators, including a narrator … two dancers [and] Adam Larsen, a cinematographer…. Orozco-Estrada also [pointed] out crucial elements of the score to listen for, most importantly the motif that appears every time blood appears….. Matthias Goerne sang Bluebeard … with a forceful, thrusting baritone that projected effortless authority but, if necessary, could temper it with surprising tenderness…. As Judith … mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung would not be deterred…. The true showstopper … came in the fifth room. At last the dank, cramped castle yielded to a window that offers a stunning vista of Bluebeard’s mountainous dominion, bathed in white-gold rays and matched by a crescendo of heaving brass and pounding tympani.… DeYoung reared back and hit a bull’s-eye of a high C that marked a high point of not only the concert but the season now just past as well.”

Posted May 22, 2019

In photo: A simulated image of the stage setup for the Houston Symphony’s production of “Bluebeard’s Castle.” Images were projected onto layers of strings suspended above the orchestra.