“Two operas about arrival and departure. Two operas about a woman and a man. Two operas about lost Eden. Two operas about forgotten Eden. Two operas about remembered Eden.”
– Director Barrie Kosky on his pairing of Dido and Aeneas and Bluebeard’s Castle
Following his triumphant Magic Flute the previous season, Barrie Kosky returned to LA Opera to direct an iconic double bill of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. On the outside, these operas are very different. Dido and Aeneas is a 17th-century wonder – the first great opera written in English – about a queen, who falls prey to the machinations of a formidable enemy, losing her heart to a man who abruptly abandons her.
Bluebeard’s Castle is a riveting 20th-century showpiece about an impulsive young bride, who turns her back on her family, only to uncover increasingly dark truths about her new husband. The common thread between the operas is a love story, but what truly makes these operas an iconic pair is their stark musical differences – and how well they actually work together. Listen to Barrie Kosky speak to Christopher Koelsch about the operas below.