Ariane et Barbe-bleue, State Theater, New York

dukas.jpgBy Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 11 October 2005]
Nearly a century after its premiere it’s time we wised up to the modernity of Paul Dukas’s only opera. Here is a work that suggests most people are unwilling to think for themselves; they prefer to be subordinated. Only the intrepid Ariane, the sixth of Bluebeard’s wives, risks fearful liberty in place of familiar captivity. The opera of women’s lib? Not really. The first five wives are a poor advertisement for the fair sex. As she leaves them to nurse their captor, Ariane concludes that one can only liberate oneself – and that’s a message for all mankind, including those Americans inclined to trust George W. Bush.