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R Strauss: Elektra Original recording reissued

8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Birgit Nilsson, Regina Resnik, Marie Collier, Gerhard Stolze
  • Orchestra: Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
  • Composer: Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (16 Nov. 1998)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041RM
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 152,984 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Wo bleibt Elektra? - Helen Watts
2. Allein! Weh, ganz allein
3. Elektra! - Marie Collier
4. Ich kann nicht sitzen und ins Dunkel starren - Marie Collier
5. Es geht ein Larm los
6. Was wilst du? Seht doch, dort! - Regina Resnik
7. Die Gotter! bist doch selber eine Gottin
8. Ich will nichts horen! - Regina Resnik
9. Ich habe keine guten Nachte - Regina Resnik
10. Wenn das rechte Blutopfer
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Orest! Orest ist tot! - Marie Collier
2. Platz da! Wer lungert so vor einer Tur? - Gerhard Unger
3. Nun muß es hier von uns geschehm
4. Du! Du! denn du bist stark!
5. Nun denn, allein!
6. Was wilst du, fremder Mensch?
7. Elektra! Elektra! - Tom Krause
8. Orest!
9. Du wirst es tun? Allein?
10. Seid ihr von Sinnnen - Tugomir Franc
See all 17 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

If ever there was a dysfunctional family, it was the one in this opera, based on a Greek tragedy but deeply imbued with the ideas of Sigmund Freud. The mother Clytemnestra (mezzo-soprano Regina Resnik) and her lover Aegisthus (tenor Gerhard Stolze) have murdered her husband, Agamemnon, on his triumphant return from the Trojan War. They have an excuse: Agamemnon gave his daughter Iphigenia for a human sacrifice. Another daughter, Elektra (soprano Birgit Nilsson), burns for revenge but, as a woman in a patriarchal society, she must use her brother Orestes (baritone Tom Krause) to execute her plan. Nilsson's portrayal is a high point of her career and the whole brilliant production matches her performance. This is not easy listening but it puts us in touch with dark realities dangerous to ignore and the music (after you get used to it, which may take a while) has great power. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wakefield, 2011 on 29 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With this recording - John Culshaw's penultimate for Decca - the 'sonicstage' concept reached its apogee: I can't think of another opera recording where the production is so 'interventionist' - not afraid to go right over the top where necessary (just sample the beginning of disc 2 to see what I mean) and with incredible use of echo and perspective. Even if you don't like the music, this would make an excellent stereo demonstration disc!

But the music is what it's all about: Elektra represents Strauss at his most 'out there' - he was never this musically radical again (Rosenkavalier, though just as good in its own way, represented a change of direction) and Solti delivers the maximum amount of drama in a score which, strangely, he often claimed to be equivocal about. His conducting, and the playing of the VPO, has an almost visceral impact here and Nilsson, Collier and (particularly) Rysanek, give performances that you will never be able to forget.

I'd definitely say this is one of the finest opera recordings ever made.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 April 2000
Format: Audio CD
The definitive recording of Elektra. After listening to Regina Resnikäs performance as Klytemnestra you will never be able to listen to any other recording. The horror, the colours in her voice, the screams, the primal energy which she summons up in this role are compelling. Marie Collier also gives a moving performance as Chrysotemis, particularly in her "ich kann nicht sitzen...". The death of Klytemnestra is especially frightening. A must.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 3 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Like Bartok's "Duke Bluebeard", the macabre spectacle of Strauss's "Elektra" is oddly compelling, like a road accident. Opera's most dysfuntional family is given some utterly astonishing music and for all that I recognise a degree of conscious artifice in Strauss's determined modernism, I find this opera wholly absorbing.

Having just listened again to the superb Sinopoli recording, I wanted immediately to re-visit this classic version from Solti. The sound is almost as good as the modern digital set and I was instantly struck by the quality of the five singers who sing the Maids, who include some famous names such as Helen Watts, Yvonne Minton and Felicia Weathers; they really lend distinction to that opening cacophony. Nilsson's steely sound does not suggest the same lascivious sensuality as Alessandra Marc's tremendous performance but the heft and brilliance of her vocalisation constitute a phenomenon in themselves.

I do not enjoy Marie Collier's vibrant, even faintly tremulous Chrysothemis as much as Deborah Voigt's marvellously strong and steady assumption of the role but it is still a dramatically convincing performance; spookily, her voice is often oddly reminiscent of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Regina Resnik is not perhaps as vocally secure as Hanna Schwarz but her Clytemnestra is a tour de force of characterisation; her burnished lower register is especially thrilling, especially when it contrasts with Nilsson's pure tones.

Tom Krause makes a fresher, more virile voiced Orestes than the aging Ramey's account and the imitable Stolze is ideal as the weak, neurotic Aegisthus.
Read more ›
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 July 2001
Format: Audio CD
I don't usually rate Solti's conducting that highly. I found his 'Ring' cycle consistently poor, overblown and fragmented (try Bohm) but in 'Elektra' he seems to have used that nervous energy to the benefit of the music. It's probably Strauss' greatest opera, a masterwork (not just of the 20th century but ANY century) and it receives here a truly great performance. Nilsson is much more 'in character' here than she was in Solti's Wagner recordings. The other singers are superb. I particularly liked Krause's 'Orest', a part which can often seem weak. And Resnik is chilling and unhinged as Klytemnestra. The VPO play tremendously and the Decca recording (1967) captures the full range of singers and instrumentalists to perfection. The depth of the sound picture and noticeable lack of background 'hiss' is remarkable (note that the current edition has been re-mastered). If you want to sample this music listen to Elektra's opening monologue on Disc One (track 2). From 7' 06'' to the end of the track is one massive passage of incandescent singing, conducting and playing. Prepare to be blown away! It's one of Strauss' finest moments and amply demonstrates the merits of this great recording.
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