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Elektra Richard Strauss, Paris, 27 October – 1 December 2013

Overview

It was Elektra that in 1906 brought together Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. With its huge orchestra and vocal writing that pushed singing technique to its limits, Elektra, a one-act tragedy of unprecedented darkness and violence, brought Post-Wagnerianism to a blazing apotheosis.

The time taken by a slow sunset. This is Hofmannsthal’s stage direction for the performance of Elektra, a one-act tragedy of unimaginable darkness and violence. The same term is often applied to the dying flames of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and indeed all cosmopolitan Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.

It was Elektra that, in 1906, brought together those two acclaimed heirs of the grand German tradition, both celebrated and in the prime of life, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. With its huge orchestra and musical writing that pushed vocal technique to its limits, Elektra brought Post-Wagnerianism to a blazing apotheosis. However, unlike Salome, the ashes of Elektra were to prove fertile ground and Elektra can be seen as a perfect and well-prepared introduction to Strauss’s future works from Rosenkavalier to Arabella.

“To cling to what is lost, eternally persisting until death – or to survive, to go on living, to adapt and sacrifice the integrity of one’s soul whilst remaining oneself in the midst of change, always to remain human without debasing oneself to the level of an animal deprived of memory, that is the fundamental theme of Elektra: the voice of Elektra against that of Chrysothemis, the voice of the hero against that of the human being.” (Hofmannsthal)

Date
27 Oct – 1 Dec 2013
Location
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