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Claudio Abbado, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Eva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender - Richard Strauss: Elektra (2006/1989)

Posted By: Vilboa
Claudio Abbado, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Eva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender - Richard Strauss: Elektra (2006/1989)

Claudio Abbado, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Eva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender - Richard Strauss: Elektra (2006/1989)
NTSC 4:3 (720x480) VBR | Deutsch (LinearPCM, 2 ch) | (Dolby AC3, 2 ch) | 7.14 Gb (DVD9) | 109 min
Classical | Arthaus Musik | Sub: Deutsch, English, Francais, Espanol, Italiano

Recorded at the Vienna State Opera house in 1989, this staging of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Elektra is one of the glories of live opera on film, deserving of eternal availability. The DVD picture has great clarity, despite the darkness of Hans Schavernoch’s set design. Other than the cliché of a huge statue head, toppled on its side, the set manages to be suitably representative of a decaying palace as well as an imposing, theatrical space, dominated by the mammoth body of the statue from which the head apparently dropped, draped with the ropes that seem to have enabled the decapitation. Sooner or later most of the characters cling to and twist around those ropes, an apt stage metaphor for the remorseless repercussions from the murder of Agammenon by his unfaithful wife Klytämnestra and her paramour, Aegisthus. Reinhard Heinrich’s costumes capture a distant era while sustaining a creepily modern look — part Goth, part homeless, part Spa-wear.
Director Harry Kupfer does brilliant work with the cast. Here Marton seems like a major stage performer. Her Elektra boils inside with hatred and disgust, but she can’t let it show. Marton’s impassive mask draws attention to the steely coldness of her eyes. When she recognizes her brother, Orestes, and knows that her wish will soon be fulfilled, she won’t allow herself conventional jubilation. Instead, she sinks back upon her brother and lets the fire die out of her eyes. Her dance of mortal joy at the end finds her wrapping herself in those ropes trailing from her father’s statue - she lived and died for him; there is no escape. Those who know Marton from her later years will be astounded by the firmness of her delivery - never wobbly, never shrieky. If we evaluate a performer by his or her best, Marton proves herself a great singer here.
Cheryl Studer finds a fire, too, in her Chrysothemis. Neither Kupfer or Brigitte Fassbaender will go for any ghoulish caricature for Klytämnestra, which makes her scarier. James King brings more of his heroic tone that one might expect at this stage of his career to the weaselly Aegisthus. Franz Grundheber is in fine form as Orestes, and Kupfer’s inclusion of Orestes at the end, covered in blood and both triumphant and aghast, ensures a shattering conclusion. Claudio Abbado gets a paradoxical performance out of the Vienna State Opera forces - both brutal and refined. It is the classic Elektra for which Eva Marton should be remembered. (Opera Today)

Cast:
Elektra – Eva Marton
Klytämnestra – Brigitte Fassbaender
Chrysothemis – Cheryl Studer
Aegisth – James King
Orest – Franz Grundheber
Vienna State Opera Chorus
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Conductor - Claudio Abbado

Claudio Abbado, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Eva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender - Richard Strauss: Elektra (2006/1989)
Claudio Abbado, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Eva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender - Richard Strauss: Elektra (2006/1989)
Claudio Abbado, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Eva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender - Richard Strauss: Elektra (2006/1989)
Claudio Abbado, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Eva Marton, Brigitte Fassbaender - Richard Strauss: Elektra (2006/1989)