His Elektra will grasp you for horrific minutes that you will never forget. Three more performances of Elektra will take place at 7 p. Wacker Drive in Chicago. Elektra is a one-act opera sung in German with projected English translations. Libretto was written by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, which he adapted from his drama Elektra. It is based on ancient Greek mythology and is the second of Strauss's two modernist operas the other one is Salome.
The opera captures your soul and makes it wander in the kingdom of precious and complicated melodies, extreme intervals, long musical phrases, cacophonous sections, atonal leitmotifs, and endless dissonance. This operatic tour de force will not leave you indifferent.
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The title role is a veritable Matterhorn, replete with stupendous heights and depths of emotion requiring the ultimate in vocal, musical, and dramatic excellence. Elektra is obsessed with the thought of revenge, which becomes the main idea of the whole opera. She tries to convince her sister, Chrysothemis, to join her in murdering their mother, but Chrysothemis doesn't want to be part of it.
The murder of Agamemnon is avenged, and Elektra dances with triumph. Then she falls senseless to the ground. Extremely difficult solos, "advanced" musical passages and powerful orchestration lead to the opera's "hair-raising" finale that is theatrically magnificent and emotionally devastating. Blood, murders, agony — this all is expressed in the form of a stunning vocal marathon.
Elektra is considered to be one of the most frequently performed operas based on classical Greek mythology.
It was first performed by Lyric Opera of Chicago on October 10, Now, years after its premiere in Dresden, Elektra is still fresh and vivid just as the composer intended it to be. Certainly, this minute musical thrill ride of madness and murder requires extremely skilled, extraordinary singers, and Lyric Opera is proud of its outstanding and superb cast. The main role of Elektra is performed by acclaimed Swedish soprano Nina Stemme.
This is her long-awaited debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago. This complicated role demands a great singing actress with a strong and flexible voice and extremely bright artistic skills, and Stemme is the actress who possesses all the necessary qualifications. Her vocal power, unimaginable singing technique, and ability to demonstrate the emotional tension and misery of the main heroine capture the audience during the entire opera and evoke a storm of intense and unforgettable feelings. This is one of the most challenging soprano roles in the operatic repertoire, and Stemme is excellent in it.
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While the main heroine is going through the emotional disaster, she meets with other characters, mostly one at a time. Her sister, warm and womanly Chrysothemis, is portrayed by the much-acclaimed South African soprano Elza Van Den Heever, who was previously seen at Lyric in the role of Armida in Rinaldo.
Heever scored a triumph as Chrysothemis last season at the Metropolitan Opera where she has also earned praise for several other challenging roles. This extremely talented singer finds the best way to demonstrate Elektra's sister who wants to leave her mother's house, marry and raise children.
Revenge, blood and tragedy in Lyric Opera's Elektra
To portray Chrysothemis's personality, Heever uses not only her great vocal power, but also sincerity and warmth in her voice and overall presentation. The opera doesn't say why she did it, although in some ways she had a reason as Agamemnon sacrificed one of their daughters, Iphigenia, before he went to war against Troy. Now, she is scared that her children will avenge her for doing that, and it reflects in the emotional torture which she is going through.
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