'... highly singable translation of Bizet's masterpiece... Parry's use of consonants here is nicely punchy and pointed. The formidable Bardon, like a cat with a mouse, toys with the music, silkily carressing the lines, then pouncing for the kill. Her spoken exchanges with Escamillo could restore the dead to manly vigor... Garry Magee's Escamillo catches Bardon's fire.'
Libretto by Béla Balász, based on his verse drama
English version by Chester Kallman
John Tomlinson, bass - Duke
Sally Burgess, mezzo-soprano - Judith
Orchestra of Opera North
Richard Farnes - Conductor
Recorded in Leeds Town Hall 5-6 June 2005
Producer - Brian Couzens
Sound engineer - Ralph Couzens
Assistant engineer - Michael Common
'For a thoroughly sympathetic, theatrically effective English-language Bluebeard's Castle, this new release is about as good as it's likely to get... The recording grew from performances by Opera North but the absence of a visual element hardly matters.
Tomlinson's Bluebeard is godlike, cautioning and doleful, the voice hugely resonant... Burgess's Judith, shrewish and fatally curious, Tomlinson's Bluebeard, inwardly tortured but fired by Judith's dark beauty.
The instruments of torture, the armaments, mountains of gold, tender flowers and spacious kingdom, all are graphically tone-painted. Farnes delivering with distinction every time... The later climatic moments are delivered with enormous power, the sum effect very moving.'
Independent on Sunday - 'Discs of 2006'
'John Tomlinson's performance in Duke Bluebeard's Castle... has been a gleeful Hammer Horror treat.'
International Record Review
'It's great to have a version of Bartók's magnificent one-act opera in English, especially one as good as this. The booklet comes not only with a complete English libretto but also a fascinating and illuminating essay on the work by Mike Ashman... this new Chandos set is a very distinguished release, a splendid addition to its Peter Moores Foundation Opera in English series.'
'As Bluebeard and Judith, John Tomlinson and Sally Burgess play out their marital endgame with shocking immediacy. Conductor Richard Farnes immaculately sustains a mood of nerve-ridden unease, rather than opting for the more usual full-frontal, expressionist assault.'