Blue Beard

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BLUE BEARD. AKA and see "March in Bluebeard." English, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Blue Beard; or Female Curiosity was a pantomime produced in 1798, with music by Michael Kelly and text by George Colman, the Younger. Advertised as a "Grand Dramatick Romance" it was written as an alternative for a Christmas pantomime, accessible to children in the audience. The Royal College of Music's Virtual Exhibition (Pantomime and the Orient) explains:

The 1798 publication of Blue Beard

Scenic spectacles and rapid transitions, brought about by Harlequin’s magic wand were the stock-in-trade of pantomime, and they brought good box-office returns. Michael Kelly had seen Grétry’s opera Barbe Bleue, based on Perrault’s fairy tale, in Paris in 1790. He paid Colman to make a libretto out of it, and Colman turned the French villain into a Turkish one, Abomelique. Reviews of Blue Beard were very mixed, but the work was popular with audiences. £2000 was spent on its preparation. Its most impressive effect was a grand cavalcade across the mountains, which used model figures and animals growing larger at each successive appearance. [1]

The tune is a version of a march from the opera, better-known under the title "March in Bluebeard."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: T. Skillern (Twenty-Four Country Dances for the Year 1799), 1799; p. 11.

Recorded sources:




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