12 Mayıs 2010 Çarşamba

Language, Characters and Some Analysis


Here there is an English version of the opera's libretto. It is actually written in Hungarian language as mentioned before. An English version is maybe not so successful to show real manner of the piece, but even this is English I think there are some clues about character establihments. First of all something is significant for me: usage style of language. When I look at Bluebeard's words, I see that they are generally in old English language style. Judith speaks a rather modern language. I think this situation is not a problem of translation, this must be intentionally. This traditional usage of language is also parallel with music. Bartok uses much more pentatonic kind of movements to make Bluebeard speak. Pentatonic scales are very characteristic for folk music, this situation again make us think about traditional approach. So Bluebeard is a kind of tradition figure with all these features in my opinion.

By the way, Judith is a much more "flexible" characters in terms of those features. As said, her language is much more modern rather than Bluebeard. It is not like that but at least I feel as if Bluebeard is much more older than Judith. This strengten my feeling about the situation. Also her melodies, lines are generally in a diatonic manner - at least she has variety of modes and feelings much more than Bluebeard.

Also rhythmically they are really diffirent. Bluebeard sings in a more "walking" way. More regular patterns, 2/4 or 4/4 generally... About its manner I can say maybe even "maestoso" or maybe as better "misterioso". But Judith is just opposite with again variety of rhythmic pattern usage. It is as if her curiosity dances, runs, jumps around Bluebeard and makes him annoyed gradually.

All those tell me actually this is not a story of a man and a women actually. I think we can analyse this story from many point of views. But first thing that I thought is this about stability of some concepts. In social life some concepts like very basic traditions or norms are really deeply stable and unchangeable. And trying to change or question them creates really chaos and it is useless as we see at the and of this story.

Other than this social analysis, we can think also historically in my opinion. This opera was written in 1911 - which is just 3 years before Great World War I. That period wasn't of course not as chaotic as during or after the war. But there is a fact that system of the world was changing deeply. Economical situation was so unbalanced and instable. I think in those years people were becoming to be not sure about their future and also about themselves. Cause, those period is also the time that the concepts like subconscious, individual are much important. People were beginning to question themselves in many ways. So in this "suspicion" kind of general feeling of the period, it is normal Bartok to reflect so much suspicion and anxiety. I think Judith is a symbol that symbolizes humanity whose curiosity and anxiety is graudally rising towards life. And Bluebeard is the stable system which doesn't answer to humanity's worries and also makes it a part of the system step by step.

We know that Bartok changed the original Bluebeard story very much. In original, Judith tries to escape from him. But now there is an endless love and dependence. I thought first, his curiosity was very much. For example she sees blood everywhere, but still she tries to go on and see what is happening. She wanders gradully levels of Bluebeard's life - actually subconscious. Human brain is perfect seemingly but inside it is not so easy to understand. But I think also Judith's insistince to learn about everything is not about love at all. It is again a "humanly" kind of approach. So maybe Bartok also says, human is an extremely chaotic and inside it an extremely lonely creature. When we try to learn deep about it or try to be a part of another human's "inside", we see generally it is impossible and creates big problems. To leave everybody with their own "in" and to be individual are always healthier and mostly much happier for everyone.

6 Mayıs 2010 Perşembe

Symbolism and Opera


This article explains opera history in general and there is a part about symbolist opera's development in 20th century. Actually, symbols gained importance with Wagner's approach to opera. His "leitmotif" idea was really important for this concept. Motives those symbolising characters or situtations... But with Sigmund Freud, also meanings of symbols changed very much. They became an expression of feelings or subconscious. I think main difference between Wagnerian works and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle is this. Wagner's motives show only characters for example. When we hear a specific theme, we know that the character that the theme symbolizes is coming, or something will happen that that theme is explainig. But for Bartok, symbols are generally feelings.Judith or Bluebeard doesn't have themes those are belonging to their own. But for example anxiety theme is same for them both. When there is something wrong, we generally hear the "blood theme" which is established by a minor second interval. This symbol generally appears at the end of the scenes, when Judith saw blood somewhere, or she is again curios and anxious about another room, or when she is asking questions about their future...

There is a similar situation for words of the opera. This work is composed on Hungarian language. And there used a special way to express that interesting language, Bartok used a different "recitatif" way for this. Here meanings of some words are more important and thet are accentuated by music. So in my opinion, those words could be symbols of their specific feelings. And maybe even they have some subconscious meanings that we couldn't see very easily. I think with a deeper -maybe a Freudian- analysis, we can reach other meanings that Bartok planned to express...