Ariane et Barbe-Bleue

A new staging of the tragic and fascinating opera by Paul Dukas

Teatro Regio, Friday 23 November 2007, 20 hour

After the inaugural Falstaff, with maestro Gianandrea Noseda on the podium in his first opera production as Musical Director, the fascinating and tragic opera Ariadne and Bluebeard by Paul Dukas (libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck, based on his drama of the same name and Barbe-Bleue by Charles Perrault) will open on 23 November. The new production by the Teatro Regio, coinciding with the centenary of the first performance of the opera, which took place at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1907, is directed and conducted by two French artists: director Danielle Ory and conductor Emmannuel Villaume. Philippe Fraisse is the creator of the timeless dreamlike staging, while the costumes, inspired both by mythology and the designs of great couturiers, are by Rossana Caringi. Singers are the American soprano Kristine Ciesinski in the role of Ariadne, the Belgian baritone Marcel Vanuad as Bluebeard and Nadine Denize as the nurse. The chorus is directed, as usual, by Claudio Marino Moretti.

Paul Dukas, born into an educated and wealthy Jewish family, soon realised that he didn’t feel part of that world that was firmly tied to a secure profession, of which his father and brother, both bankers, belonged. For the eclectic and talented Dukas, music constituted a vital and necessary instinct, as it had for his mother, who died young, an exceptional pianist destined for a brilliant career if it hadn’t been for the social conventions that shattered her artistic ambitions. From the score of Ariadne and Bluebeard, which took seven years to compose, there emerges the tension between the masculine and feminine worlds that Dukas suffered and experienced during the course of his life. Dukas constructs a ritualistic monodrama, almost psychoanalytical, in which Ariadne is the sole protagonist, while Bluebeard is confined to the margins of the story. It is interesting to note that the most famous composition of the refined Dukas is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, used in the unforgettable episode in Walt Disney’s Fantasia when Mickey Mouse competes with magic.

Danielle Ory, forty-seven years old, is involved in her first production for the Teatro Regio, but her career as a director began more than ten years ago. Often invited to the Festival of Avignon and other important French theatres, at the moment she is also engaged in preparing Massenet’s Don Qiuchotte for Limoges 2008. About this Ariadne and Bluebeard, she says: «Above all, it is a feminine, rather than feminist, opera…Ariadne is many things together; it is an opera in which the relationship between music and words is very important…just like the symbols: six keys, six doors, a castle-labyrinth». She continues: «Bluebeard is a man obsessed by violence, a man who has never loved until he meets Ariadne. At the end of the opera he has changed; Ariadne leaves, but Bluebeard is now a different man».

The story opens with the arrival of Ariadne and her nurse at Bluebeard’s castle, where the villagers are rebelling against the man they hold responsible for killing his five previous wives. Ariadne, alone with her nurse, wants to open the forbidden door - the seventh - after having opened the other six, which revealed a great variety of jewels. She finally decides to disobey, and finds the other five wives still alive. Shattering the darkness, they find light and liberty once again. Meanwhile, the armed villagers rush forward , and after having captured Bluebeard, they call for justice, but Ariadne urges them to leave, while the five wives untie Bluebeard and treat his wounds. Ariadne is now ready to take her leave, but none of the other women agree to follow her.

The forty-three year old Emmanuel Villaume conducts the Teatro Regio Orchestra for the first time. His experience includes performances with important European and American orchestras and the enormous success of his recent debut at Carnegie hall in New York.

Ariadne and Bluebeard, with five performances through 1 December, will be presented to the public by Luca Scarlini in Incontro con l’Opera which will take place in the Foyer del Toro on Wednesday 14 November at 5 pm.

Information: Teatro Regio, Piazza Castello 215 - Tel. 011.8815.241/242 - e-mail -

Turin, 16 October 2007

Paola Giunti
Press Office Chair