Trieste Opera Season Closes with Rare Double Bill: Bartók’s ‘Bluebeard’ and Strehler’s Lost Kafka Opera

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by InTrieste

A pair of rare and compelling operas will close the 2023-2024 season at Teatro Verdi in Trieste, offering audiences a unique opportunity to experience two historical works in an extraordinary double bill. The performances, scheduled for June 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23, will feature Béla Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” and “The Dividing Door,” an opera with a libretto by the renowned Giorgio Strehler, based on Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.”

“Bluebeard’s Castle,” a masterpiece by Bartók, returns to Trieste for the first time since its singular performance in 1979. This revival, directed by the illustrious Henning Brockhaus, promises to be a significant cultural event, rekindling interest in a dark and enigmatic narrative that explores themes of secrecy and revelation.

Brockhaus, a former collaborator of Strehler, brings a mature and contemplative vision to the stage. Known for his rare but meticulously crafted productions, Brockhaus’s involvement guarantees a thoughtful and provocative interpretation of Bartók’s one-act opera.

The title role of Bluebeard will be performed by bass Andrea Silvestrelli, fresh from his triumphs in Chicago and Australia. Opposite him, mezzo-soprano Isabel de Paoli will portray Judith, Bluebeard’s inquisitive and tragic wife, adding her robust voice to this noir classic.

“The Dividing Door,” an opera with a unique backstory, complements the program. It is the only libretto ever written by Strehler, one of the 20th century’s most influential theater directors. Commissioned by Victor de Sabata for La Scala, the work languished for years as composer Fiorenzo Carpi struggled to complete the score. The opera remained unfinished at Carpi’s death, but Alessandro Solbiati recently completed the music, leading to its premiere at the Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto in 2022.

Based on Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” the opera delves into themes of dehumanization and alienation, reflecting Carpi’s personal history. His father, Aldo Carpi, was a renowned painter and a survivor of the Gusen-Mathausen concentration camp, experiences that profoundly influenced Fiorenzo’s artistic vision.

Marco Angius, a conductor gaining increasing acclaim across Europe’s leading opera houses, will lead the orchestra for both operas. The minimalistic direction by Giorgio Bongiovanni for “The Dividing Door” will highlight the young and promising cast, including Davide Romeo as Gregor Samsa and Alfonso Michele Ciulla as his father.

Superintendent Giuliano Polo emphasizes the importance of these productions in preserving and promoting Trieste’s rich cultural heritage. “Our theater is not only a stage for performances but also a repository of the historical memory of Trieste’s performing arts. We are committed to passing this legacy on to future generations,” Polo said.

Artistic Director Paolo Rodda praised the collaboration with the Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto, noting their shared commitment to nurturing young talent. He expressed pride in Brockhaus’s return to Teatro Verdi, underscoring the deep trust and creative synergy that mark this partnership.

The performances are slated as follows:

  • Friday, June 14, 2024, at 8:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 15, 2024, at 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, June 16, 2024, at 4:00 PM
  • Friday, June 21, 2024, at 8:00 PM
  • Saturday, June 22, 2024, at 4:00 PM
  • Sunday, June 23, 2024, at 4:00 PM

For opera enthusiasts, literature aficionados, and students of 20th-century European culture, this double bill at Teatro Verdi promises to be an unmissable highlight of the season, offering a rare glimpse into the complex interplay of historical narratives, personal histories, and artistic legacies.

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