Elektra to bring mythic opera to the Salmar Classic screen

A performance of the Richard Strauss Opera, Elektra, recorded at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, will be shown at the Salmar Classic

  • Apr. 27, 2016 4:00 p.m.

A performance of the Richard Strauss Opera, Elektra, recorded at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, will be shown at the Salmar Classic on April 30 at 9:55 a.m.

Elektra is a dramatic tragedy of truly Greek mythic dimension.  Myth has been the stuff of opera for most off its history perhaps because myth explores the human condition and its range of actions and emotions.

It is the story of Elektra’s primal quest for vengeance for the murder of her father, Agamemnon. This opera is above all a psychological study with dense and complex language.

Strauss chose chromatic rather than tonal music to tell this story of a woman tottering on the abyss of anarchy. The opera was composed in 1909.  This German Strauss is not related to the Vienna Strauss family of waltz and operetta fame.

In Elektra expect wild obsessive behavior, vows of vengeance, murder, tirades, sacrifice, maniacal laughter, terror, unspeakable joy, cries for help, tumultuous confusion, and finally a state of ecstasy.

Strauss’s music heightens all the emotions of this searing Greek tragedy.

The staging is by the late legendary director Patrice Chereau who presented his Elektra in Aix en Provence and Milan but died before it could be shown at the Met.  Chereau’s overpowering vision lives on with Swedish soprano Nina Stemme—unmatched today in the heroic female roles of Strauss and Wagner. Stemme is a worthy successor to her countrywoman, the late great Birgit Nilsson. Legendary German mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier is chilling as Elektra’s fearsome mother, Klytamnestra. The peerless Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka and American bass-baritone Eric Owens are Elektra’s troubled siblings.  Chereau’s Finnish musical collaborator Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Strauss’s mighty take on Greek myth.

Opera and art lover Gabriele Klein believes that great art should hold up a mirror to society.

Perhaps through this 1909 opera Strauss commented on the chaos in Europe that would culminate in WWI in just a few years.

At the conclusion of Elektra the audience usually sits in stunned silence and cannot help but be moved and changed. That was Klein’s first experience with Elektra many years ago.

The run time is 1 hour 45 minutes without intermission. Tickets are available in advance at the Salmar Grand or at the door of the Classic.