Filmed performances of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle continue to find their way to YouTube. Clips of this film from 1981 have been around for a while but not the entire opera which I hadn’t seen until now. On a theatrical and cinematic level this performance isn’t as successful as the superb version Leslie Megahey made for the BBC in 1988; director Miklós Szinetár gives us a rather traditional Gothic reading that’s only contradicted by the slight stylisation of the sets. The climactic moment when the Fifth Door opens delivers a simple blaze of white light that can’t compete with the equivalent moment in Megahey’s version when the castle floor opens up and Bluebeard’s kingdom is revealed in miniature. The musical recording is excellent, however, with Georg Solti conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Kolos Kováts plays Bluebeard and Sylvia Sass is Judith. Watch it here.