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Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Elektra. It was last on stage 23 September—12 October 2013 as part of the Autumn 2013/14 season.

Introduction

Klytämnestra has murdered her husband, King Agamemnon. Her daughter Elektra determines to avenge her father’s death.

Background

With the first chords of Elektra, we are plunged into a psychologically intense and violent world. The opera shocked audiences (and even its performers!) when it had its premiere in Dresden in 1909. Today, as then, Elektra’s desperate need to avenge the murder of her father by her mother makes for gripping drama. At 90 minutes, the opera is one of Strauss’s most concentrated works, and in style and instrumentation one of his most modernist scores.

The political and social fractures in early 20th-century Europe, and emerging concepts of psychology, provide a rich subtext in Charles Edwards’s production. The set and costumes allude to Classical and early 20th-century art and architecture, and highlight the moral decay at the heart of Klytämnestra’s kingdom. Strauss’s richly-orchestrated score takes the principal singers to their vocal limits. It is characterized by dramatic musical motifs, including the distinctive ‘Agamemnon’ motif, used to represent Elektra’s obsessive thoughts of revenge. This highly dramatic opera also contains passages of great vocal beauty, including Elektra’s rapturous recognition of her brother Orest, returned to avenge his father.

News and features

On Wikipedia

See Mourning Becomes Electra for the 1967 opera, based on the 1931 Eugene O'Neill play.Elektra, Op. 58, is a one-act opera by Richard Strauss, to a German-language libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, which he adapted from his 1903 drama Elektra. The opera was the first of many collaborations between Strauss and Hofmannsthal. It was first performed at the Dresden State Opera on January 25, 1909.Elektra is a difficult work and is musically complex. A performance requires musicians with great stamina. The role of Elektra in particular is one of the most demanding in the dramatic soprano repertoire. Despite being based on ancient Greek mythology, the opera is highly modernist and expressionist. Hofmannsthal and Strauss's adaptation of the story focuses tightly on Elektra, thoroughly developing her character by single-mindedly expressing her emotions and psychology as she meets with other characters mostly one at a time. The other characters are Klytaemnestra, Elektra's mother and one of the murderers of Agamemnon, Elektra's father; her sister, Chrysothemis; her brother, Orestes; and Klytaemnestra's lover, Aegisthus. None of them show much development; all are secondary to the story. Everything else from the myth is minimized as background to Elektra's character and her obsession. Other aspects of the ancient story are completely excluded, tightening the focus on Elektra's furious lust for revenge. The result is a very modern, expressionistic retelling of the ancient Greek myth. Compared to Sophocles's Electra, the opera presents raw, brutal, violent, and bloodthirsty horror.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article Elektra (opera), available under a Creative Commons license.