Monday, December 21, 2020

Elektra from Salzburg


Chrysothemis and Elektra

Stage director - Krzysztof Warlikowski
Conductor - Franz Welser-Möst

Elektra, Agamemnon's daughter - Aušrinė Stundytė (soprano)
Chrysothemis, her sister - Asmik Grigorian   (soprano)
Klytämnestra, their mother - Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (mezzo)
Aegisth, Klytämnestra's lover - Michael Laurenz  (tenor)
Orest, son of Agamemnon - Derek Welton (baritone)

Since it still is on, I decided to give Elektra from Salzburg last summer a try.  It was performed in the Felsenreitscchule and was one of only two operas presented at that time. The other was Mozart's Cosi fan tutte.

It starts with a speech by Klytämnestra before starting the opera.  She says it was she who killed Agamemnon.  Elektra is one of the daughters of Agamemnon and Klytämnestra.  The women are left at home for ten years while Agamemnon leads the Greeks to Troy to fight for the return of his brother Menelaus's wife Helen who was kidnapped by Paris.  While he is away, his wife takes a lover, Aegisth, and kills her husband when he returns from the war.

The opera begins with Elektra brooding over the murder of her father.  This is a regie production with everyone dressed in modern clothes.  Elektra smokes.  The Felsenreitscchule provides a space for a long shallow swimming pool.  Perhaps it's a feature of the building.  When Elektra cries out to see her father, he appears.  At least I assume that's who it is.  She dances. 

The production is interesting, but these people seem to have been cast for their looks.  They look like the characters they portray, but there is a lot of shouting.  To look like their characters the girls are vocally too immature for their roles. Theatrically it is stunning.  Previously I have seen Christine Goerke and Nina Stemme sing Elektra, but this is more serious, more intense, more in the time of life when all becomes difficult. 

The lushness of the orchestra is beautiful.  The translation is very good.  Many people love this opera.  There seems to be an audience.  Recommended for the intensity.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

in some versions of the matter of Troy, Agammenon had sacrificed Iphigenia, Elektra's older sister and Clytemestra's eldest daughter, to get fair winds on the way to war. so mom had some reason (beyond a new lover) to kill the king upon his return. not sure why I would remember this stuff when I can't find my phone or car keys, but there you are. all of that took place 10 years before Big A's return & murder....