Bluebeard’s Castle & Erwartung

Audience Reaction

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Credit - Video footage and editing by Matt Holmes


The Seattle Times

One of the greatest productions of anything I have ever seen. ... [Original stage director Robert] Lepage brings imaginative vision to every aspect of both works. With ‘Bluebeard’s Castle’, sets, costumes, lighting, and media effects mesh perfectly with [the] marshalling of the figures on stage. The tour de force staging of ‘Erwartung’ renders it utterly convincing and absorbing. ... In both works, the actor-singers could not possibly be bettered. ... Bluebeard and Judith [are] sumptuously sung, rivetingly acted and ideally balanced in personal authority. ... The young conductor Evan Rogister elicits wondrous playing from the orchestra. ... It is a rare and precious pleasure to find authors and a director capable of exploring the human condition with such insight. ”
-Bernard Jacobson, The Seattle Times
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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

An astonishing and revelatory night in the lyric theater. ... Utterly compelling. ... Highly effective. ... Lepage is one of the most visionary directors in the word today. ... a cinematic approach. ... Michael Levine’s décor is minimal and awesome, Robert Thompson’s lighting provocative. The world of imagination is evoked as readily as the everyday. ... First-rate singers and conductor. John Relyea’s Bluebeard is vivid. Malgorzata Walewksa has a voice of uncommon breadth and height.Susan Marie Pierson [portrays The Woman] with impressive penetration. [Maestro] Evan Rogister made the orchestra sound like another – electrifying with total attention to detail. Bartok has rarely seemed so lyrical. The orchestra was at its finest."
-R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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Seattle Weekly

You’re not going to see anything like this on any other stage in Seattle. The entire evening was a knockout, not just as a display of imaginative stagecraft, but because every component worked, and worked together. This is one of those productions in which opera finally seems to reach its centuries-old goal of being all-encompassing theater. … In Robert Lepage’s abstract, dreamlike, thrilling inventive production, the set practically acts as a third character. … Chairs and beds float, the moon shifts from silver to scarlet, and a nude man rolls in slow motion down to a moat at the lip of the stage. …The Seattle Symphony was ablaze on opening night, playing Bartok’s cinematic music and Schoenberg’s splashy score with a sense of absolute assurance. … John Relyea [Duke Bluebeard] and soprano Malgorzata Walewska [his bride Judith] are the sorts of performers who fill a space; Relyea’s dark, richly rumbling bass-baritone isn’t just powerful but versatile, and Walewska is fearless [as Judith] and has a presence that recalls the inner fire and attention-magnet imperiousness of another Polish diva, Ewa Podles. [In Erwartung,] Susan Marie Pierson sings/acts with a courageous directness and vividness. … By bringing Lepage’s production here, Seattle Opera is giving us a fuller, deeper realization of what opera can be. This double bill should be seen by all opera fans, and even—especially—by people who think they’re not."
-Gavin Borchert, Seattle Weekly
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Northwest Reverb

Each opera delivered a team-effort, combination punch that was a knock-out musically and visually. Overall, this daring double-bill production pushed Seattle Opera forward artistically and exposed new horizons for the company. … Speight Jenkins engaged the right mix of artists to make these two one-act masterworks intelligible and engaging for today’s audiences. … Seattle Opera featured exceptional casts for both productions. Baritone John Relyea superbly conveyed the complex personality of Bluebeard. Soprano Malgorzata Walewska was completely convincing as Judith, his new bride. [Both] used their powerful and expressive voices to reveal the vast expanse of emotions within each character. … In ‘Erwartung’, Susan Marie Pierson’s soprano voice completely matched her haunted state.; she drew the audience into her dream world with utter conviction. … Conductor Evan Rogister and the orchestra found the emotional arc of the music and gave it a perfect shape. … The three silent actors used slow-motion gestures and acrobatics to stunning effect."
-James Bash, Northwest Reverb
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Photo Credit

2009 Bluebeard’s Castle with Erwartung © Rozarii Lynch Photo