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Opera / Ballet


LNOBT Main Stage
Running time 2 hrs.


Béla Bartók
Music Director and Conductor
Robertas Šervenikas
Krzysztof Pastor
Csaba Káel
Julius Geniušas
Set Designer
Boris Kudlička
Costume Designer
Tatyana van Walsum
Light Designer
Marc Heinz
Video Designer
Mikołaj Molenda
Chorus Master
Česlovas Radžiūnas

One of the most famous pieces of the 20th century is  a diptych of one-act stage works by composer Béla Bartók (1881-1945), combining the ballet "The Miraculous Mandarin" and the opera "Bluebeard's Castle". These works by B. Bartók are often shown in one performance in theatres around the world.

Diptych's creative team, led by renowned choreographer Krzysztof Pastor and Hungarian director Csaba Kael, present the story of "Bluebeard's Castle" as the pre-death memory of the main character of "The Miraculous Mandarin". Thus, Mandarin and Duke Bluebeard are like one character in this concept.

According to K. Pastor, ballet "The Miraculous Mandarin" tells a brutal story of a big city, where there are more fights than love duets. It's the story of a street-walking woman who meets three men one by one: an elderly gentleman, a young guy, and finally, the mysterious Mandarin. All of them are accompanied by the sign of death: after meeting the Woman, all men perish. However, Mandarin and Woman share a special bond of unfulfilled passion. Therefore, when the Woman's pimps try to destroy the persistent Mandarin, he is reborn every time he is killed: an endless desire to be with his beloved revives his vital forces. And only when the Woman finally responds to the lover's feelings, the magical Mandarin dies. As he dies, he remembers how merciless he once was to the women who loved him...

 Hungarian director Cs. Kael tends to call "Bluebeard's Castle" more a mystery than an opera, because the work is not characterized by large choruses or an abundance of characters. All attention is focused on two characters trying to understand each other's secrets - Judith and Duke Bluebeard. The opera's libretto was based on a tale created by the French writer Charles Perrault about Bluebeard, who takes the bride back to his castle after the wedding feast. The castle is famous in the surrounding area for the fact that three women who crossed its threshold - Bluebeard's young wives - mysteriously disappeared one after another. The other girls are frightened by this, but at the same time they are also attracted: they are curious to know what is going on in the castle. Judith, despite Bluebeard's warnings, manages to overcome the maze of trials in the seven rooms of the castle, which unlocks the darkest secrets of the man's soul. She is not afraid of the lake of tears shed by Bluebeard's three ex-wives, but will her determination alone be enough for a happy future for the couple?

Both works, which scandalously began their existence in the beginning of the 20th century (the opera was composed in 1911, the ballet in 1919) still fascinate and intrigue with mysterious, fabulous plots, great music.