Duke Bluebeard's castle

Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, the first opera that Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker directed, was premiered in February 1998 at Brussels' La Monnaie. The performance brings together three pieces by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók: Mikrokosmos, seven pieces for two pianos (1939), the Fourth String Quartet Quatuor nr.4 (1928) and Bartók’s only opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (1911).

The starting point of the creation goes back to Bartók/Aantekeningen of 1986, a choreography to Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet. The year after, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker wrote Mikrokosmos, her first duet for a man and a woman.

The connection in this performance between Mikrokosmos, Quatuor nr.4 and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle has not been artificially assembled. It is what it is: through Bartók’s music, through the choreographic material of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, through the musical crescendo of two pianos to the string quartet to the orchestra, through the spatial decrescendo from big to small and back to big, through the folklore element of the costumes, woven across the three parts, through the man and woman in Mikrokosmos who return in the end as Judith and Bluebeard, through the four dancers of the Quatuor nr.4, who reflect the three previous wives of Bluebeard, through the number seven - of the seven pieces of Mikrokosmos to the seven doors of Bluebeard’s castle, etc.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

Gisbert Jäkel

Konrad Lindenberg

Rudy Sabounghi

Marianne Van Kerkhoven


Mikrokósmos, Seven Pieces for Two Pianos

Oliver Koch/Martin Kilvády and Johanne Saunier

Béla Bartók

Music performed live by
Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Jean-Luc Plouvier

Quatuor N°4

Cynthia Loemij, Sarah Ludi, Anne Mousselet, and Samantha Van Wissen

Béla Bartók

Music performed live by
The Duke Quartet

Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Béla Bartók

Béla Balázs

Music performed live by
De Munt Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lothar Zagrosek

Bluebeard: Victor Braun, Ronnie Johansen
Judith: Svetelina Vassileva, Anne Schwanewilms
Minstrel: Annie Henderyckx-Szikora

Cynthia Loemij, Sarah Ludi, Anne Mousselet, Johanne Saunier, and Samantha Van Wissen

Musical Analysis
Georges-Elie Octors

Thierry De Mey

Dancers in the film
Iris Bouche, Bruce Campbell, Alix Eynaudi, Fumiyo Ikeda, Martin Kilvady, Oliver Koch, Cynthia Loemij, Sarah Ludi, Anne Mousselet, Roberto Oliván de la Iglesia, Ursula Robb, Johanne Saunier, Taka Shamoto, Rosalba Torres, and Samantha Van Wissen

De Munt/La Monnaie in cooperation with Rosas

22.02.1998, De Munt/La Monnaie (Brussels)