Orchestrally it’s magnificent; the Helsinki Philharmonic creates a sumptuously detailed sound world, which Mälkki focuses exactly on each unfolding layer of the drama

The Guardian

Andrew Clements

“Susanna Mälkki is the conductor here and she knows instinctively when to unobtrusively tighten the emotional screws and when to sit back and simply let us take in Bartók’s flabbergasting orchestral canvas. Pacing and phrasing are exemplary…”


“On the present recording, Mälkki has a terrific sense of how the piece should flow. Her tempos move purposefully. The opera’s individual scenes brim with character: the minor-second motive during the opening of the first door (the torture chamber) speaks chillingly. The third door (which reveals Bluebeard’s treasury of riches), with its glimmering celesta part, is radiant. So, too, the revelation of the garden (door four) and the great peroration in the fifth-door scene (which unveils Bluebeard’s lands). Throughout, the HPO plays with a mix of transparency and power that’s magnificent.”

Arts Fuse

“Deux statures vocales impressionnantes, parfaitement appariées, capables de résister face à l’orchestre mené de main de maitre par Susanna Mälkki qui nous livre de ce château sanglant une lecture incandescente, tendue, riche en couleurs oscillant entre drame poignant, angoisse, urgence et mystère, servie par les Berliner Philharmoniker qui se distinguent encore tant en terme de performances solistiques individuelles (petite harmonie, harpe, cor) de cohésion, d’engagement et d’équilibre.”

Res Musica

“Infectious in an entirely different way is Susanna Mälkki’s sinuous new recording of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, unmatched for the subtle way she coaxes out the music’s disturbing undercurrents, so that the terror is omnipresent but, most of the time, not quite tangible… Rarely has the subterranean anxiety of this opera been so artfully conveyed.”