When Bela Bartok composed his only opera in 1911, he dedicated it to his wife, Marta. While we don't know what she made of the gesture, we can't help but wonder if she viewed it warily, for the opera was “Bluebeard's Castle,” a work based on the French fairy tale of a duke who murders his wives and hides their bodies in his foreboding fortress. It's an uxorial horror story of the highest caliber, the stuff of which nightmares, psychological thrillers and dramatic operas are all made.
Dramatic indeed was Opera Omaha's production of “Bluebeard's Castle,” which debuted Friday night at the Orpheum Theater. Although short — the opera is only one act and roughly an hour long — it was filled with the kind of emotional tension and storytelling that continue to resonate with audiences long after the last curtain call.