At first glance, these two short operas - combined in Frankfurt as a full-length production since their 2010/11 premiere - have little to do with each other in terms of style, content or even language: Dido and Aeneas (1689) by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1918) by Béla Bartók (1881-1945). However, after the double evening directed by Barrie Kosky, who has been artistic director and chief director of the Komische Oper Berlin since 2012/13 and will continue to be associated with this house as director from summer 2022 - after the end of his time as theater director - was released on December 5, 2010, one could read in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Two one-act operas separated by around 230 years of opera history. The result is simply fantastic."
In Dido and Aeneas, Aeneas falls in love with Dido, the widowed queen of Cathargo, on his return journey from the Trojan War. She hesitantly returns his affection, suspecting that Aeneas will soon leave her again. In fact, the latter, blinded by a spell, breaks camp in Kathargo, contrary to his original intention. Dido dies of a broken heart. - In Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Judith follows her husband Bluebeard to his castle. There, the atmosphere is dark and sinister: seven doors hold dark secrets. Little by little, Judith manages to open all the doors. Behind the seventh and last one, she finally discovers her three murdered predecessors. Together with Bluebeard, Judith steps through this door, and the castle sinks into darkness once again.