Elektra. DVD. Prod: Lehnhoff, cond: Gatti with the Vienna Philharmonics. Salzburg, 2010. Cast: Irene Theorin (Elektra), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Chrysothemis), Waltraud Meier (Klytemnestra), René Pape (Orest).
They really did assemble the best cast imaginable last years Elektra in Salzburg. Eva-Maria Westbroek, superb neurotic acting and vocally blooming delivers a Chrysothemis in the league of Karita Mattila and Cheryl Studer. Waltraud Meier as luxury casting in this role often taken by singers well into retirement, here, for the first time, you hear how this role may be sung. These two formidable ladies almost tend to oversing Irene Theorin, who by all means delivers a great performance, dramatically as well as vocally. The only question mark I´d place after her Elektra is the almost permanent wobble she has in the middle register. After all, now that her interpretation is preserved on DVD, I hope she will not sing this part too often. In fact, as Eva-Maria Westbroek will take on Isolde in 2012, we here have an Elektra trio where all three singers currently sing Isolde on the major stages.
René Pape is easily the finest Orest available on DVD, and if a finer is available on CD we will have to look at recordings before the area of stereo recordings.
Gatti´s slow, broad conducting does not leave much to be desired. Nikolaus Lehnhoff, well known for his minimalistic, dark, brooding Wagnerian interpretations, lived up to expectations with an equally minimalistic, dark, brooding Straussian interpreation.
Among the commercially Eletra DVD´s available, I shall put this at the top, narrowly defeating the Abbado/Kupfer production from the Vienna State Opera, an even darker staging. But for those with patience, it may be worth seeing what comes out of Patrice Chéreau´s production at the Met in a couple of seasons. Because Chéreau has what Lehnhoff doesn´t - the ability to make the interpersonal drama com alive.
Cast: The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
Irene Theorin: 4
Eva-Maria Westbroek: 5
René Pape: 5
Waltraud Meier: 5
Daniele Gatti: 5
Overall impression: 4-5
Glad to see you back
Theorin was singing Elektra in Stockholm in january 2012. The performance I saw the 18th was beyond all praise. Power, legato, projection, sweetness... she was extraordinary from the first "Allein" to the final dance.
After the performance, everybody (standing of course) could see on her face that she KNEW what she had done... It was very moving to see in Stockholm a swedish soprano take up Nilsson's torch.
Emma Vetter's Chrysothemis was fantastic too...
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