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Ariane et Barbe-bleue (‘Ariane and Bluebeard’)locked

  • Ronald Crichton

Extract

Tale in three acts by Paul Dukas to a libretto by Maurice Maeterlinck after Charles Perrault; Paris, Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart), 10 May 1907.

Maeterlinck’s many-sided, symbolic libretto (originally considered and rejected by Grieg) was written for his companion Georgette Leblanc, actress and singer. He claimed that it was based on actual experiences of hers. With typical Maeterlinckian ambiguity, questions are posed but not answered. We know by the end that the former wives are still attracted to their torturer and that they have refused Ariane’s offer of liberty. Bluebeard’s power is broken but uncertainty remains. In spite of her composure Ariane has achieved little except, as Dukas suggested (in a note published in ...

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