Bartok: Bluebeard’s Castle, Long Beach Opera, Long Beach, California, 1999
BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE
Bartok: Bluebeard’s Castle, Long Beach Opera, Long Beach, California, 1999


Marsha Ginsberg, Set and Costume Designer
Geoff Korf, Lighting Designer
Photo credit: Marsha Ginsberg


Bluebeard’s house – all the interior walls removed. Inside, clues of his former lives (and wives) – wallpaper on top of wallpaper, tiles on top of tiles, a house in the middle of construction or demolition, in need of a loving hand, that of his new wife Judith, who perhaps like his former wives might be able to bring order to Bluebeard’s chaos. Light equals enlightenment, gradually revealing the space as Judith and Bluebeard lead each other to discover more of the space and more of themselves. The torture chamber becomes a 16mm film suddenly projected on to Judith and the bathroom tiles – a film about her own fears more than his. The armory is a bloody knife discovered when a kitchen cabinet suddenly falls open, the treasure chamber a dilapidated dining room of shattered mirrors and fallen crystals from a chandelier: dazzling, but sharp enough to cut the skin. The garden a lush flash of falling rose petals culminating in violence, and the climactic door five reveals the immense space around the castle. Water drips from a now visible plumbing system as Bluebeard begs Judith not to ask for more and when she demands the final key, Bluebeard literally unearths his former wives to show her that they, like she, still live.