Composed in 1911, Bluebeard's Castle is Bla Bartk's only opera - a radical masterpiece which has secured a place alongside the other innovative music dramas of the same period, from Debussy's Pellas et Mlisande to Berg's Wozzeck. Planning to write a one-act opera, Bartk settled on a libretto by Bla Balzs with the kind of surreal and/or macabre themes that would soon feature in his two ballets, The Wooden Prince and The Miraculous Mandarin. The main source for the libretto text was a play by Maeterlinck, a retelling of Perrault's gruesome tale of Barbe-Bleue, the sinister yet strangely seductive wife-killer. Balzs turned the drama into what he called a 'mystery play', however, and his stylization of the story throws the weight of the drama onto stage-setting and music. The single act centers on the successive opening of the castle's seven doors, and Bartk's music brings across the horrors of the blood-drenched torture chamber, the steely power of the armory and the glitter of jewels in the treasury as well as the interplay of increasingly feverish questionings from Judit and defiant responses from Bluebeard. Susanna Mlkki and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra have already proved their Bartk credentials with a disc of his ballet scores which was chosen as Record of the Week in BBC Radio 3 Record Review and earned top marks in Diapason and on the website Klassik-Heute. Joined by Mika Kares as Duke Bluebeard and his Judit, the Hungarian mezzo-soprano Szilvia Vrs, the team here performs Bartk's darkly glittering, shimmering and threatening score in a live recording from 2020.