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Strauss: Elektra (Aix en Provence/Patrice Chereau) [DVD] [2014] Digibook

Evelyn Herlitzius , Waltraud Meier , Patrice Chéreau    Exempt   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £27.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Strauss: Elektra (Aix en Provence/Patrice Chereau) [DVD] [2014] Digibook + Strauss: Capriccio [Renèe Fleming, Bo Skovhus, Michael Schade, Angelika Kirchschlager] [DVD] [2014] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Evelyn Herlitzius, Waltraud Meier, Adrianne Pieczonka, Mikhail Petrenko
  • Directors: Patrice Chéreau
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Bel Air
  • DVD Release Date: 26 May 2014
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,689 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The last production ever staged by Patrice Chéreau, this 'Elektra' will remain as the most striking events of recent years in Aix-en-Provence. 'This production, with Esa-Pekka Salonen on the podium, the Orchestre de Paris in the pit, an all-star cast and Patrice Chéreau directing, has been hyped so hard that it would be gratifying to be able to enumerate its imperfections. But there are none. Chéreau, Salonen and their cast get everything so appallingly right... Chéreau takes Hofmannsthal s chilling libretto to the letter, in the most minutely exacting manner, and Salonen does the same with the score, conducting with all the dispassionate clarity of the gore in a Tarantino film. If it were merely gore, it would be bad enough. Far worse, though, both men see every moment of tenderness in text and score in perfect detail. These murderous family members are not monsters. They are real people, filled with love and yearning, damaged beyond repair. Evelyn Herlitzius lives and breathes the mammoth title role. She is a wild animal, a dirt-smeared urchin in oversized men s clothes, her wiry body barely containing the huge, disturbing emotions of her matricidal character. Her jerky, broken dance is one of this production s many unforgettable moments. The opening night audience leapt to its feet to applaud her. As her far more feminine sister, Adrianne Pieczonka is a revelation, with a lavishly creamy voice capable of expressing all the emotions that Elektra forbids herself. Waltraud Meier s Klytämnestra is so dignified as to be almost harmless, a frail figure whose subsequent slaughter seems out of proportion to her errors. The men are strong, led by Mikhail Petrenko as an unnervingly compassionate Orest. Richard Peduzzi s sets and Caroline de Vivaise s costumes set the action somewhere that could be the vestiges of any modern conflict, from the Balkans to Afghanistan, a grey, comfortless world of concrete, fear and oppression. Under Salonen s merciless direction, the Orchestre de Paris gives the lie to preconceptions about French orchestras and German romanticism, with playing that is transparent, brawny and seductive all at once. The whole is so horribly compelling that it is hard to remember to breathe, and even harder not to join Elektra in eager passion for the closing bloodbath. Chéreau does not even bother with blood; in the end, Orest strangles his mother. It is vile, and utterly wonderful. This production goes on to La Scala, Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Finnish National Opera, the Liceu in Barcelona and the Staatsoper Berlin. It has all the strengths of Chéreau s legendary staging of Janácek s 'From the House of the Dead'. Its shelf life will be long, and it will be talked about for even longer. A triumph for Aix. *****Shirley Apthorp

Product Description

BELA 110; BEL AIR; Classica Lirica

Customer Reviews

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chereau's Elektra 28 May 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Elektra is a favourite opera of mine, and I think I have all the currently available DVDs/blu-rays. I wouldn't want to be without any of them, but my personal favourites are the Salzburg version with Irene Theorin and the filmed version with Leonie Rysanek and Karl Bohm conducting. This new version joins my favourites.

Musically, it's fantastic. All the singers are very good indeed, even the minor characters. Evelyn Herlitzius gives a fantastic performance as Elektra. Let's face it, this role is never going to be pretty, but it's always good to come across someone who can sing it rather than shriek it. The characterization is vivid and she's almost constantly on the move - no "stand-and-deliver" here. Adrianne Pieczonka provides a good contrast as Chrysothemis - creamy of tone and bringing out all of her dowdiness and frustration. Waltraud Meier is superb as Klytemnestra - not as evil as normal, more a woman at her wits' end - you almost feel sorry for her! The direction of the singers is inspired - with all the roles vividly characterized - even the small ones. The orchestra play brilliantly for Esa-Pekka Salonen, playing with tremendous force or melting beauty as required. The recorded sound is very powerful and transparent, delivering real impact - and a good balance between stage and pit.

The production updates the action to the recent past. The set is simple and unremarkable. The "house" is through a large arch on a raised platform at the back and there are entrances at the sides for the servants. The costumes are dowdy and drab, apart from Klytemnestra who wears an elegant long black dress and a large green necklace.

My only problem - and I considered taking a star off for it - is the lighting.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Ultrarunner TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Richard Strauss collaborated with Hofmannsthal, both different personalities. Richard was easy going, comfortable, turned away wrath with a joke, at ease with musicians and temperamental singers. Hofmannsthal was aloof, stiff , prone to depression, well read, and snobbish. Yet Elektra was the first of many operas they wrote together. Based on Hofmannsthal's play (1904) after the tragedy by Sophocles (411 or 410 BC). Premiere 1909, Semper Openhaus, Dresden. Often spoken of in Freudian terms, but Kennedy states, that is by no means certain, for he was inspired by Sophocles. He writes the Freudian overtones are accidental.

This was the last production of Patrice Chereau who died in October 1913. He is renowned for his 1976 Bayreuth Ring cycle, based upon the Industral revolution as Wagner originally conceived it. In that cycle he revolutionized how singers act and transformed the staging of opera. So today we speak of the Chereau Ring cycle. Thus, from the 23 minute Interview on the Bluray in French with English subtitles, I will quote a few of Chereau's views on this Elektra.

" Hofmannthal's reader's of his play, come to it, after two long centuries where the story took on different meanings. But there are traces of the original Ancient Greek plays left. It is these that I look for in Aeschylus, rather than Hofmannshal, certainly not Strauss, who chose the most barbaric of the Ancient Greek plays about Elektra. (In his article Three Women in the booklet, Chereau states that apart from Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides there is a dazzling rereading of Shakespeares Hamlet.) The story is distorted. Klytamnestra never mentions why she murdered her husband. In the play it is mentioned, but Strauss cut it. In ancient ciivilization's you had to avenge a murder and so it continued.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 22 July 2014
By ruben
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Great production and singing.
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