It’s a double date at the opera. The Greek National Opera hosts two magnificent one-act plays in one evening; Bela Bartók’s brooding tragedy Bluebeard’s Castle, and Giacomo Puccini’s lighthearted comedy Gianni Schicci. Fun fact: both of these operas premiered in 1918, in Budapest and New York respectively.
Bluebeard’s Castle is based on the popular folktale: Bluebeard keeps a dark secret from his new wife, Judith. He's been killing all his past brides in a sadistic sort of dare by handing them keys to every locked room in his castle and forbidding them to enter one specific room; the one where evidence of his crimes can be found. Judith, eager and curious to find out more about her husband’s past, will enter the forbidden room. Watch this significant early 20th-century opera unfold to the impressive scene installation of Bluebeard’s castle by award-winning set and costume designer Leslie Travers.
Gianni Schicchi is based on an episode from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Puccini heavily borrowed from the commedia dell'arte tradition in this opera: Schicchi resembles a Harlequin, while his daughter Lauretta echoes the form of a Columbina, both archetypes of this comedic tradition. The opera is famous for the aria “O mio babbino caro”, which has famously been performed by Maria Callas.