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Elektra (2005)

Video  |   |  Drama, Musical  |  2005 (Switzerland)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Melanie Diener ...
Chrysothemis
Eva Johansson ...
Elektra
Marjana Lipovsek ...
Reinhard Mayr ...
Der Pfleger des Orest
Cassandra McConnell ...
Die Vertraute
Morgan Moody ...
Ein alter Diener
Alfred Muff ...
Orest
Rudolf Schasching ...
Aegisth
Andreas Winkler ...
Ein junger Diener
Christine Zoller ...
Die Schlepptraegerin
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User Reviews

 
A compelling production of one of Strauss' best operas
4 April 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Strauss' music I simply love, there was a time where I wasn't used to his style but appreciated his music, but now I love it and get goosebumps or reduced to tears listening to it. Elektra is one of my favourite operas of his alongside Salome, Ariadne Auf Naxos and my favourite Der Rosenkavalier. This production is compelling enough if not my favourite production of Elektra, which is a tough call between the 1981 film with Rysanek, the legendary Nilsson performance of the early 80s, the 1994 Behrens productions and the 1989 Marton production. The 2010 Theorin and Meier production is a must watch too.

The sets didn't bother me, they are of a dark quality but they worked considering the opera's brutal tone. The costumes are a little more problematic, I liked the regal costuming of Klytamnestra and Chrystothemis but Elektra for some reason looks as though she is dressed in semi-punk attire. The staging is mostly fine, it is busy and very dramatic, with the standouts being the recognition scene and Klytamnestra's murder. Elektra's death dance was a real disappointment however, the orchestration here is some of the best of the entire opera, but the impact was ruined by the brief but still bizarre, jarring and unnecessary inclusion of the Brazilian-like dancers.

On a technical level the DVD is fine, with good camera work, and clear picture and sound quality. As for the musical values of this production, the orchestra play with real fire, bellowing rage and tension and Christoph Von Dohnanyi's conducting is weighty and full of authority, so much more consistent than his conducting for the 1997 production of Salome, which I still enjoyed by the way especially for Malfitano and Terfel.

Eva Johansson is an exceptional Elektra. In some ways it is a good thing to have someone in the role who is age-appropriate, but I was also concerned seeing how notoriously taxing Elektra is on the voice. Johansson didn't make me worry about that though, because her voice, which is often big and thrilling, pierces above the orchestra yet the softer moments shows signs of great vocal beauty. Dramatically, Johansson is very committed, right from her facial expressions to how she moves her interpretation is vengeful and has balls.

Melanie Deiner is a vocally mellifluous(not too shrill which is a good thing) Chrystothemis and like Johansson she shows a lot of dramatic commitment to the role. Alfred Muff is a solid if not exactly mind blowing Orestes. He has a good strong voice, is commanding and certainly looks as though he's ready to do the deed, but is it me or does he look twice older than Elektra instead of younger? Best of the support cast was Marjana Lipvosek's Klytamnestra. Vocally, it is not Lipvosek at her best, there is a lot of command but some shrillness too, but the acting is pretty extraordinary, both evil and troubled.

All in all, compelling and well sung production of one of Strauss' best operas. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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