The orchestral music proceeds from gentle tones to a rising crescendo to indicate the unfolding drama.
Bluebeard's Castle is dark with no sunlight. Judith comes to warm the cold stones. She will
let the light in. Large doors close so no-one sees what is behind them. Bluebeard declares
"Blessed are your hands", Judith. The orchestral music is in a panic mode like a torture chamber.
The walls of the castle are covered with blood.Judith asks to open every door to let in the wind
and sun. Bluebeard promises to give Judith 3 more keys. He asks that she peek inside but
do not question.
Gold coin, rare pearls, diamonds, cloaks are alluded to. This is my treasure house, declares Bluebeard.
Now, all these treasures are yours, Judith. The 4th door has roses and my secret garden! Lillies bloom
with roses as pure as snow. The orchestra plays very intricate music with flutes, violin, drums, organ,
horns and a tuba.
The 5th door displays my kingdom. Your country is indeed beautiful, declares Judith. Clouds cast blood
red shadows. Come I await your kiss, Judith. Bluebeard offers her one more key. A silent white lake appears. What water is this says, Judith? Tears says Bluebeard. Judith asks about the other women. She perceives what is behind the 7th door? She figures out that other wives were murdered. They are all here. They increased my kingdom, declares Bluebeard.
The first wife was silver.The second was gold. The third represented the evening glow.
The fourth was found in the starry dark of night. Judith is the most beautiful of all.
Bluebeard's Castle was not universally acclaimed when it was first performed. Nonetheless, the
passage of time has given Bartok's work a new shine due to the intricate interplay of the
various scenes and the rising crescendo of the orchestra in response to the unfolding
drama and unanswered questions presented by the author. The performance is worth your
undivided time for an hour or thereabouts.