Do you remember the hype surrounding the artist Dale Chihuly when he came to Buffalo in the mid ’90’s? The exhibit was the talk of the town, and people who had not made a trip to the Albright-Knox in years, clamored to get back inside and rediscover the word of art. For many reasons, Chihuly’s world of hand blown glass works made such an impression on this city (and other cities) that the art of blowing glass became front and center in the art world, and is still a favorite among those who appreciate the delicate nature of the medium, and the colorful whimsy that embodies it.
On Oct. 1, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) will present Bela Bartok’s opera “Bluebeard’s Castle”. The opera will also feature sets designed with blown glass arrangements by Chihuly. The BPO will be the fifth orchestra in the world to present the opera along with the works of hand blown glass art, which includes seven 14-foot high walls of fragile elaborate glasswork. The performance is slated to be a feast for the ears and the eyes.
Throughout the course of the opera, Chihuly’s glass plays into the divulgence of Bluebeard’s secrets, keeping the audience following Director JoAnn Falletta’s lead as she orchestrates the story being played out by BPO musicians, two opera singers and fabulous color sequences.
“One of the things that makes this piece so exciting is that it all comes together,” said Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung (playing Judith in Buffalo) in an interview with San Francisco Classical Voice. “Bartók wrote the music exactly like what’s happening in the story. Even if you didn’t have the text, you can hear everything that’s happening. I love that. It’s so tone-poetic.”
The story of Bluebeard (performed by Charles Robert Austin), his castle, his wives, the treasures, and the forbidden locked door play perfectly into the hands of Chihuly’s sets, as the glasswork can easily portray optimism and elation, and the presence of nasty secrets and evil deeds.
The post-concert party will showcase additional Chihuly works in the lobby and the Mary Seaton Room thanks to the collection of the Albright-Knox. There will also be demonstrations by the Corning Museum of Glass.
A VIP package includes a tour of the set, premiere seating, and a book on Chihuly’s art.
The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo. General admission tickets are $29, and the VIP package that includes the tour is $75. All attendees are invited to attend the post-concert party to continue the conversation, meet the musicians, and sample light refreshments. For tickets, call (716) 885-5000 or visit bpo.org.
Henry’s will be open for dinner this evening, with seating at 5:30 PM. Reservations are required. Call (716) 881-4438.