The Atlanta Opera, Bailey School of Music partner to present "Bluebeard’s Castle"

New production centers the story on loss of a loved partner to the ravages of dementia

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 20, 2022) — In partnership with The Atlanta Opera and Kennesaw State University’s Bailey School of Music, the North American premiere of Bluebeard’s Castle will be presented at the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center on October 7, 8 and 9. Tickets range from $20-$50 and may be purchased online or by calling Patron Services at 470-578-6650.

image of michael looking upward as if in prayer
Michael Moore as Bluebeard in The Atlanta Opera and Bailey School of Music production. Image by Mihaela Bodlovic for Theatre of Sound.

From the one-act chamber opera from Bela Bartók, Bluebeard’s Castle is traditionally presented as a psychological thriller or Gothic horror as the lover uncovers the secrets of Bluebeard’s past. This new production, from director Daisy Evens and conductor Stephen Higgins, centers the story on the loss of a loved partner to the ravages of dementia in a way that will resonate with anyone who has dealt with aging loved ones.

Michael Mayes (Bluebeard) reunites with Susan Bullock (Judith) in this relatable story. Mayes is well known to Atlanta audiences, having starred in Dead Man Walking here, a filmed version of Glory Denied, as well as Sweeney Todd, The Kaiser of Atlantis, and Carmen. Bullock, one of the world’s most sought-after dramatic sopranos, is best known for her portrayal of Wagner’s Brünnhilde, which garnered outstanding praise and led her to become the first ever soprano to sing four consecutive cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Royal Opera House. She is making her The Atlanta Opera debut. 

michael moore and susan bullock on stage together having an argument
Michael Moore (Bluebeard) and Susan Bullock (Judith) in "Blackbeard's Castle" premiering at KSU Oct. 7-9. Image by Mihaela Bodlovic for Theatre of Sound.

Instead of doors masking Bluebeard’s true soul, the audience encounters Judith’s fraught relationship with her memories and its effect on her husband. The roles were first created for the world premiere from London’s Theater of Sound. 

“We’ve been excited about this adaptation of Bluebeard’s Castle since its debut in the U.K,” says Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun. “This is a production that resonates with so many of us who have struggled through caregiving and loss. As we approach nearly a decade of Discoveries performances throughout the community, I can say with certainty that Bluebeard’s Castle fits the ethos of the series perfectly. We are proud of our partnership with Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts for this U.S. premiere.”  

Susan Bullock (Judith) hugs Michael Moore (Bluebeard).
Susan Bullock (Judith) in "Bluebeard's Castle." Additional programming is planned to discuss the emotional impact of dementia. Image by Mihaela Bodlovic for Theatre of Sound.

Kennesaw State University’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services is supporting the production by hosting dementia/altered neurologic simulations for students in three classes as a prelude to the opera. Next, a panel in “Community Conversations” features Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ faculty Erica Holliday and artists from the production to discuss the emotional impact of memory, caretaking, and dementia. Scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7:00 p.m., the public is invited to attend this free event. 

In-person tickets for Bluebeard’s Castle Oct. 7-9 are available online or by calling Patron Services at 470-578-6650. The opera will be performed in English. Learn more about The Atlanta Opera and the Bailey School of Music. 

--Kathie Beckett and Ashley Mirakian

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