A SPLENDID ELEKTRA, TO RECOVER IN WHICH VALENCIANO PALAU DE LES ARTS BEST OLD FEELING. By Diego Manuel García Pérez.Representations Elektra Richard Strauss, which they took place last January in the Palau de Les Arts in Valencia, They have been a real triumph, especially for the magnificent performance of the Orchestra of Valencia, this time extended to more than a hundred instrumentalists and very well directed by Marc Albrecht, great connoisseur of the Straussian repertoire. Among the voices highlighted the American soprano Sara Jakubiak, Chrysotemis and magnificent baritone Derek Welton Australian as Orestes. Canadian Robert Carsen, He made an excellent stage direction, moving highly expressive way to figurantes amount in a virtually empty stage especio. The capacity was almost complete, which was comforting, especially with a title like Elektra quite apart from the standard repertoire. An enthusiastic audience gave standing ovations at the end of representations. After several years of changes and uncertainties, The Palau de Les Arts has recovered their best feelings of antaño.Después of the great success achieved by Richard Strauss with Salome, their collaboration began with the great playwright and poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal Austrian, in which music and text perfectly complemented, producing six operas in twenty years: Elektra from 1909, Der Rosenkavalier (Der Rosenkavalier) from 1911, Ariadne auf Naxos (first version of 1912 and second and definitive 1916) Y The woman without a shadow (Frau ohne Schatten) from 1919, which can be considered true masterpieces, and two: The Egyptian Helena (Egyptian Helena) from 1928 Y Arabella, released in 1933, extreme quality. Hofmannsthal's death, in 1929, when he had almost completed the libretto Arabella, was a blow to Strauss. In 1903, Hofmannsthal successfully premiered his play Elektra (adaptation of Sophocles' play), Kleines Theater in Berlin by Max Reinhardt. Strauss attended a performance in autumn 1905, shortly before the premiere of Salome, and he considered that its dramatic structure was very suitable for an opera. In spring 1906, composer and writer met to discuss the conditions to turn the play into an opera. The composition lasted for more than two years, starting in summer 1906 and ending in autumn 1908. Elektra premiered at the Royal Theater in Dresden, he 25 of January of 1909, and that same year had successful performances in Munich place, Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Graz, Milan and the following year, I premiered in London and New York. It can be considered the most revolutionary operas of Strauss, which requires a huge orchestra with over one hundred instrumentalists, running a highly expressionistic music, where the composer mixture with polytonality tonality and atonal bolder, with moments of great lyrical intensity. Composed in one act, It requires three great singers of great expressive vocalism and great capacity: a dramatic soprano for the obsessed and vengeful Elektra, one lyrical Spinta for her sister Chrysothemis and dramatic contralto or mezzo for the role of his mother Klytämnestra, along with a baritone in the role of Orestes, in possession of a powerful vocalism. More Episodic the paper Aegisth, played by a tenor voice light and extravagant stage movements. Notable standup Elektra, her duets with Chrysothemis (hallucinatory which it occurs at the end of the opera), which interprets Orestes, where they are mixed lyric and a dramatic intensity; Y, especially, the stunning duet with her mother Klytämnestra, where the voices should offer a considerable volume in conjunction with the initial sound impressive orquestal.El excellent tour of Elektra, over the years 1909 Y 1910, in major theaters around the world, He was overshadowed by the tremendous success of the two following two operas by Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (Der Rosenkavalier) Y Ariadna auf Naxos, which together with Salome, They became the trio of operas most represented Straussian. It will require the appearance of the Hungarian soprano Rose Pauly, whose interpretation of the role of Elektra in the late twenties and thirties, It will relaunch this opera in European and American scenarios. At the Salzburg Festival, with a strong Straussian tradition was never represented to 1934, with Rose Pauly and Chrysothemis of the great Viorica Ursuleac (favorite soprano Richard Strauss), Clemens Krauss with her husband to the front of the Vienna Philharmonic. Rose Pauly recorded the complete opera 1937, directed by Artur Rodzinky to the front of the New York Philarmonic- Symphony Orchestra; several fragments of this recording can be heard on YouTube and allow you to check the quality of Elektra interpreted by the Hungarian soprano. It is from the fifties, when Elektra receives its final push, especially in the interest of directors like Dimitri Mitropoulos, Karl Böhm y Fritz Reiner. As well, They show great interest in this opera sopranos Inge Borg Swedish and Astrid Varnay, large vocal and expressive media, who dominate the role of Elektra from 1950, until the mid-sixties, often interpreting, with many recordings, It is highly recommended for its extreme quality and good live sound decision made at the Salzburg Festival 1957 (Available Full on YouTube) directed by Dimitri Mitropoulos at the front of the Vienna Philharmonic, with impressive Inge Borg (Elektra), next to the beautiful voice of Lisa Della Casa (Chrysothemis) and the American mezzo extraordinary Madeira Jean (a referential Klytämnestra). Elektra interpretations performed by Astrid Varnay, They have been several magnificent recordings, among them are highly recommended two doses Live (Complete available on YouTube): the first held in the Metropolitan neoyorkimo, in 1952, orchestral address Fritz Reiner and the second in the Salzburg Festival 1964, directed by Herbert von Karajan. Taking the witness Varnay and Borg, another extraordinary Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson, She began singing Elektra from 1965 until 1980. Their most common partners in multiple functions will Leonie Rysanek (Reference Chrisothemis, I had already played this role with Varnay and Borg), y means the Regina Resnik (Klytämnestra). Must be heard (It is available on YouTube complete), Live decision made at the Vienna State Opera, in 1967, with three singers directed by Karl Böhm, the head of the Vienna Philharmonic. Hungarian soprano Eva Marton and German Hildegard Berens, during the nineties, They also made remarkable performances of Elektra, although not comparable to those made by Nilsson, Varnay y Borg. In recent times, from 2010, Swedish soprano Irene Theorin and German Evelyn Herlitzius, They are playing excellent Elektras, them has joined from 2015, another great Swedish soprano Nina Stemme (it seems that the Swedish sopranos have a great affinity with the character of Elektra). It can be considered a modern reference of this opera, making video (Available Full on YouTube), excellent image and sound, fraught with stunning close-ups, held at the Salzburg Festival 2010, a great deal: Irene Theorin (Elektra), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Chrysothemis), Waltraud Mayer (Klytämnestra) and a magnificent René Pape (Orestes), with stage direction by Likolaus Lehnhoff and Daniele Gatti musical, the head of the Vienna Philharmonic.
Production presented in Valencia, It comes from the National Opera of Paris, based on a co-production of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the Tokyo Opera Nomori, with stage direction by Robert Carsen and Michael Levine scenery totally minimalist character, with a stage of absolute nudity consisting of a large enclosed by three walls that are curved in its support base on stage, with an earthy dark sandy soil where a multipurpose rectangular recess opens, because it is the tomb of Agamemnon and entry into the palace inhabited by kings Klytämnestra and Aegisth, murderers of Agamemnon. Actually, the attractiveness of this production lies in the ability of Robert Carsen to move with great dramatic sense a lot of extras around the protagonists. Entry is shocking scene Klytämnestra fully dressed in white on a white bed also, which is carried as a throne for the many ballerinas-figurantes. White is highlighted by a suitable spotlighting, within the scenic dark and black clothes of the other characters. Highlight of this staging the moment Elektra, in his opening monologue, He invokes the figure of his father Agamemnon and figurantes extract it from his tomb and handing it Elektra porting. Choreographic movements of the dancers and the focal lighting designed by Robert Carsen and Peter own van Praet, also confer real attraction to this scenery. Also noteworthy costume design by Vazul Matusz, black for the actors and extras, compared with white garments and carrying Klytämnestra Aegisth.
Elektra It is an opera where the vast orchestra of over one hundred musicians acquires absolute role and solo voices are inserted as an instrument. The Orquesta de Valencia, substantially enlarged hundred three performers, again demonstrated its extreme quality, with superb direction of Marc Albrecht, full transparency, with perfect differentiation of sound levels and offering a range of nuances in the dense and extraordinary orchestration that Strauss conceived for this opera. Albrecht handled well the dynamics. All orchestral sections scratched at high altitude, with a sumptuous string, capable of alternating sounds very strong forcefully and wonderful we pianissimos. Strauss has the novelty of three groups of first, second and third violins, each with eight instrumentalists, along with other three first, second and third violas, each with six instrumentalists, and severe rope first six cellos and six seconds, with eight double basses. Ya, single rope, no less than sixty two performers by far exceeds the dimensions of a classical orchestra. Metals also flashed high, with imposing sonorities of the tubes, trombones and trumpets, also capable of delicate issue we pianissimo. Orchestral response was always consistent with the complexity of this rich score where tonal passages are mixed with other immersed in pure atonalidad, in contrast to many fine moments almost chamber music melodismo. At the same start of the opera can be heard Agamemnon theme, fortissimo brilliantly issued by horn and trumpet unison with all the rope, to the following pianissimo faint sound of trombones and basses. This issue becomes recurring with different variations throughout the opera: appearance of Orestes in his big scene with Elektra, who returns to sing a ruthless tone and ironic when Klytemnestra and Aegisth are killed by Orestes, and reappears in the amazing duo of Elektra and Chrisotemys, almost at the end of the opera, with all the savage intensity of the beginning, repeated three times resembling lightning storm folded Elektra, after its frenetic dance to celebrate the death of Klytämnestra and Aegisth. The other recurring theme of this opera is called "Elektra chord", where Strauss uses polytonality, which you can already be heard for the first time, Episodic so in the opening scene of maidens and sumptuous reappearing mode, repeatedly executed by rope and wood in the scenic entrance Elektra. Highlight the subject of intense lyricism and melodic Chrysotemis expansions in the first of his duets with Elektras, where interventions have bright metals and especially the five tubes. Definitely, the climax of this opera and where the Orchestra of Valencia shone at higher altitudes, it is all the great scene Klytämnestra and Elektra, with an introductory orchestral interlude strongly atonal character, which involved all sections in a stunning orchestral crescendo, that during it allows the brilliance of percussion and metals, especially tubas and trumpets. In the dialogue of mother and daughter alternating dissonance and melody, highlighting the occasional presence of a trombone muted and the combined sound of harps and contrafagot, along with the numerous interventions of the celesta (instrument appreciated by Strauss). Another great moment is the interlude preceding the scenic eruption of Orestes, dominated by the sound of metals, with forays cello and bassoon. The orchestra also shone in the long Elektra and Orestes duo, which reappears "Elektra chord" executed soft, lilting way, small orchestral interludes are also inserted fine melodismo, abruptly interrupted by the powerful and dissonant bursts of horns and trumpets. finally note, the conciliatory work of Marc Albrecht very aware of the voices, some with problems through the immense orchestra, to be placed at the bottom of the stage.
Irene Theorin has played quite often the character of Elektra in the last ten years, highlighting brilliantly in the aforementioned production of the Salzburg Festival 2010. But, ten years does go in vain; Y, Valencian these functions had a modest start, in his great monologue initial "Allein! Sore, very allien ", with low volume, an emission somewhat irregular and lack of voice projection; It could also be due to stage imperatives having lying on the floor singing voice projecting upward. It improved significantly in his big scene with Klytämnestra, well played by veteran German mezzo Doris Soffel, and with seventy-one years, who showed great mastery of the song parlato, and a magnificent scenic capacity to refine each phrase, every word sung. Logically, given his age, Vocal problems showed deterioration in the low register and acute. Both singers were inserted well in the orchestral sound impressive. Theorin also made a good performance in his scene with Orestes of the Australian baritone Derek Welton, powerful vocalism and excellent singing line. But nevertheless, in his duets with Chrisothemis, It was clearly surpassed by the American soprano Sara Jakubiak Polish origin: one Chrisothemis of beautiful timbre, considerable, domain of all records, the ability to regulate the sound and project your voice forward, transferring the barrier orchestral. I was interested to hear live Sara Jakubiak, after knowing their interpretations edited on DVD, of Agathe The Marksman (The poacher) de Carl Maria von Weber, directed by Christian Thielemann; Y, especially, his extraordinary creation in Heliane The miracle of Sunray (The Miracle of Heliane), de Erich Wolfgang Korngold, directed by Marc Albretht. Aegist's character was played by tenor Stefan Margita Czech veteran, Whitish whose voice and histrionic gestures proved suitable in his duet with Elektra. Highlight the performances in the opening scene of the opera of the five maidens played by Eva Kroon, Evgeniya Khomutova Emilie Pictet Larisa Stefan y Aida Gimeno, also playing the confidant of Klitämnestra.
Excellent performance of the Choir of the Generalitat Valenciana, ringing off the stage at the end of the opera. also highlight the group of twenty dancers perform choreography by Philippe Giraudeau the, both on their travels online with open arms up. Also dancing in a circle or acting mimicked way with Elektra or around an ax hiding behind. Y, at the scene of Elektra and Orestes, when it says that even dogs of the palace would have recognized, and the dancers approach him, moving on all fours like dogs. Anyway, one magnificent Elektra.