Bartók: Duke Bluebeard's Castle (CD)

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John Tomlinson

An unforgettable live-concert recording, selected from the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s season of works by Béla Bartók – ‘Infernal Dance’.

Sir John Tomlinson (Bluebeard),
Michelle DeYoung (Judith),
Juliet Stevenson (narrator)

Philharmonia Orchestra & Philharmonia Voices,
Esa-Pekka Salonen

Recording details: November 2011
Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria
Produced by Misha Donat
Engineered by Jonathan Stokes
Release date: March 2014
Total duration: 66 minutes 38 seconds

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Financial Times

23rd May 2014


“In the theatre, Bartók's one-act opera is a dramatic portrait of the irreconcilability of the sexes. In the concert hall, where this recording was made in 2011 by the Philharmonia Orchestra, its appeal to the imagination seems no less powerful. Salonen conducts a taut, luxuriant reading that captures the score's majesty and mystery. John Tomlinson' Bluebeard makes up in histrionic heft what he has lost in vocal poise, but is overshadowed by Michelle DeYoung's wonderfully alive Judith. The inclusion of the enigmatic introduction spoken in English by Juliet Stevenson, is an unexpected bonus.”


'Here’s a new recording that might just go all the way to sensory overload … it’s as dazzling as you always hope it will be. Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia live in Vienna in November 2011. Stunning playing from them. A truly atmospheric recording that makes it easy to believe you’re in the dark bowels of a castle … John Tomlinson’s dark intimidating bass in a role he knows so well makes Judith’s fate seem feel inevitable and Michelle DeYoung matches the scale of John Tomlinson’s performance … but it’s the orchestra as it builds the castle before our eyes that’s most impressive'

- BBC Radio 3

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