Herzog Blaubarts Burg / La Voix Humaine

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July 2025
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Herzog Blaubarts Burg (Bluebeard's Castle)

Synopsis

Place: A huge, dark hall in a castle, with seven locked doors.

Time: Not defined.

Judith and Bluebeard arrive at his castle, which is all dark. Bluebeard asks Judith if she wants to stay and even offers her an opportunity to leave, but she decides to stay. Judith insists that all the doors be opened, to allow light to enter into the forbidding interior, insisting further that her demands are based on her love for Bluebeard. Bluebeard refuses, saying that there are private places not to be explored by others, and asking Judith to love him but ask no questions. Judith persists, and eventually prevails over his resistance.

 

The first door opens to reveal a torture chamber, stained with blood. Repelled, but then intrigued, Judith pushes on. Behind the second door is a storehouse of weapons, and behind the third a storehouse of riches. Bluebeard urges her on. Behind the fourth door is a secret garden of great beauty; behind the fifth, a window onto Bluebeard's vast kingdom. All is now sunlit, but blood has stained the riches, watered the garden, and grim clouds throw blood-red shadows over Bluebeard's kingdom.

 

Bluebeard pleads with her to stop: the castle is as bright as it can get, and will not get any brighter, but Judith refuses to be stopped after coming this far, and opens the penultimate sixth door, as a shadow passes over the castle. This is the first room that has not been somehow stained with blood; a silent silvery lake is all that lies within, "a lake of tears". Bluebeard begs Judith to simply love him, and ask no more questions. The last door must be shut forever. But she persists, asking him about his former wives, and then accusing him of having murdered them, suggesting that their blood was the blood everywhere, that their tears were those that filled the lake, and that their bodies lie behind the last door. At this, Bluebeard hands over the last key.

 

Behind the door are Bluebeard's three former wives, but still alive, dressed in crowns and jewellery. They emerge silently, and Bluebeard, overcome with emotion, prostrates himself before them and praises each in turn (as his wives of dawn, midday and dusk), finally turning to Judith and beginning to praise her as his fourth wife (of the night). She is horrified and begs him to stop, but it is too late. He dresses her in the jewellery they wear, which she finds exceedingly heavy. Her head drooping under the weight, she follows the other wives along a beam of moonlight through the seventh door. It closes behind her, and Bluebeard is left alone as all fades to total darkness.

 

La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice)

Synopsis

The curtain opens to reveal a bedroom where a woman (Elle) lies unmoving on the ground. Elle changes position once before finally rising. Although Elle makes to leave the room, the phone rings and Elle returns to answer it. Elle receives two wrong numbers before her ex-lover is able to get through to her. Elle lies to him, saying that she went out with her friend Marthe the previous night, and that she took one pill to help her fall asleep when she returned. The couple discusses their past relationship, and Elle blames herself for their problems, claiming, "Tout est ma faute." Throughout their conversation, they experience numerous telephone problems, and their connection finally cuts out completely. When Elle calls her lover's home phone, she discovers that he is not there and assumes that he is at a restaurant. He calls her back, and Elle reveals that she has lied during their conversation; instead of going out with Marthe the previous night, she took twelve sleeping pills in an attempted suicide. She then called Marthe, who arrived with a doctor to save her. Elle suddenly hears music in the background, and grows suspicious that her lover is at the home of his new girlfriend. Elle expresses her suspicions to him several times until the end of the opera, but he never admits to his true location. Elle also reveals her obsession with the telephone, explaining that she has slept with it in her bed for the past two nights. Their connection fails once again, and Elle panics. Her lover calls her back once more, and Elle informs him that she now has the telephone cord wrapped around her neck. Telling him she loves him over and over, she sinks into her bed and drops the receiver.

Program and cast

In coproduction with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

 

Orchestra of the Tyrol Festival Erl

Musical Direction Martin Rajna

Direction Claus Guth

Stage Design Monika Pormale

Costumes Anna Sofie Tuma

Lighting Michael Bauer

Dramaturgy Yvonne Gebauer

Duke Bluebeard Florian Boesch

Judith Christel Loetzsch

La Femme Vera Lotte Boecker

Festspielhaus Erl

Festspielhaus

 

Designed by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Vienna, the extraordinary structure boasts 862 seats (130 of which are flexible seats near the orchestra) and the world’s largest orchestra pit (160-sq meters). The total useable surface is 7,000-square meter. General contractor was STRABAG, project manager Ing. Georg Höger.

 

The new Festspielhaus respects and compliments the architecture of the old Passionsspielhaus and its natural surroundings in a unique way: in the summer, when the Tyrolean Festival Erl or the Passion Plays take place at the white Passionsspielhaus, the dark Festspielhaus will blend with the dark forest, allowing the Passionsspielhaus to be dominant. In the winter it is the other way round: while the white Passionsspielhaus will fade into the surroundings, the dark Festspielhaus will stand out against the white landscape.

 

The Festspielhaus offers the modern infrastructure that has been sorely missing at the Passionsspielhaus, including a foyer with cloakroom, modern stage machinery, several rehearsal rooms and plenty of space for administrative offices. The Festspielhaus provides the Tyrolean Festival Erl with the basic conditions it needs to ensure the Festival’s success will continue into the future.

 

Passionsspielhaus

 

The Passionsspielhaus in Erl, built between 1957 and 159 on plans by architect Robert Schuller, is an architectural and acoustic masterpiece. The structure blends with its surroundings and is a visual extension of the adjoining mountains.
Thanks to its striking shape the Passionspielhaus instantly became Erl’s greatest landmark. Austria’s largest orchestra theater accommodates up to 1500 visitors. The 25-meter wide stage is tiered and provides a spectacular backdrop for the 500 passion play actors as well as the orchestra of the Tyrolean Festival Erl, which performs onstage as there is no orchestra pit. 

 

A café serving snacks and beverages was added in 1997 and an Art Room for 150 visitors was opened in 2003.  
When the Festspielhaus was renovated between October 2006 and April 2007 all sanitary facilities were upgraded; an “orchestra pit” with scissor lift and a substructure for the main stage were added; the auditorium got equipped with a deaf loop system and a new floor; the catwalk, the exterior design, the cellar beneath the donkey ramp, the refreshment stand, all electrical installations and the ventilation system were replaced; and the wardrobe and the stairway renovated.  

 

 

YOUR WAY TO ERL

 

BY CAR

Germany, Eastern Austria
A8 Munich-Salzburg, Autobahndreieck Inntal, A 93, Motorway exit Nussdorf/Brannenburg or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf

Italy, Switzerland, Western Austria
Inntalautobahn A 12, motorway exit Kufstein Nord or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf; from Italy: after Brenner Pass take A 13 and A 12 (approx. 1 h 20 min to Erl); from the Swiss border it’s a 3 hour drive to Erl; the entire journey is on motorways and expressways.

In Austria, the use of motorways and expressways is subject to payment of a toll.

Munich – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Salzburg – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Innsbruck – Erl approx. 45 hour by car

 

BY TRAIN

All long distance and regional trains stop in Kufstein. 

 

FLIGHTS

Airports

Innsbruck (90 km),
Salzburg (90 km),
München (110 km).

 

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