Customer Reviews


14 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent performance from Salzburg
This is a really splendid performance of Elektra, recorded at the Salzburg Festival in 2010. The production of Nikolaus Lehnoff is intelligent and gripping and features a stunning coup de Theatre in the final scene.

Vocally, I doubt whether the cast could be bettered today. Irene Theorin is a sensational Elektra, not since her compatriot Birgit Nilsson, have I...
Published on 5 Mar 2011 by J. Aitken

versus
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite to my taste
I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I found it hard to keep my attention on this production. It is not the music, I love Strauss normally, It is not the cast, there are excellent voices from some of my favourite artists.
The set is concrete walls set at odd angles and with square holes here and there, and a hole or two in the ground. Ladies in costumes vaguely...
Published 18 months ago by I. Zaneres


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent performance from Salzburg, 5 Mar 2011
By 
J. Aitken (Glasgow Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a really splendid performance of Elektra, recorded at the Salzburg Festival in 2010. The production of Nikolaus Lehnoff is intelligent and gripping and features a stunning coup de Theatre in the final scene.

Vocally, I doubt whether the cast could be bettered today. Irene Theorin is a sensational Elektra, not since her compatriot Birgit Nilsson, have I heard and seen such a convincing exponent of the role. No surprise that she studied with Nilsson in the past. The role holds no terrors for her and her voice shines resplendent throughout. She is capable of the most beautiful soft singing and the recognition scene with Rene Pape is just wonderful. Waltraud Meier is a deeply troubled Klytemnestra, vocally nuanced and absolutely secure and the Chrysothemis of Eva - Maria Westbroeck is also very fine.

Daniele Gatti produces some exceptional playing from the Vienna Philharmonic, and is particularly adept at bringing out the intricate chamber music qualities of the score as well as rising to the musical climaxes. Although the performance is recorded live from Salzburg, the end of the opera goes directly to the credits without any audience applause, although there certainly must have been some! But this is a minor omission. This is really a superb performance and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning Elektra, 19 April 2011
By 
A. J. Valentine (London.UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The productions of Nickolaus Lehnoff are always interesting and thought provoking, without becoming obscure and a crazy. He always tells the story of the opera he is directing clearly, and anyone coming the opera for the first time either on stage or DVD will have no trouble in following the action and drama. He does not fail in this Salzburg production of Elektra. He has at his command one of the best casts of recent years. Irene Theorin in her opening monologue starts off rather unsteadily, no doubt not helped by the fact that she is required to crouch down and in a sort of hole.(Watch Nilsson in this scene,standing straight, shoulders down, head back and jaw forward directing her gleaming sound straight into the audience) Theorin however goes from strength to strength singing and acting a vivid, wild and often moving performance of this killer role.No doubt one of the finest exponents of the role today. Eva-Maria Westbrook is the soprano of the day,singing many major roles on the majority of the worlds greatest stages. She is a commited and generous singer. I do wonder however if she is taking on some of the big dramatic roles too quickly. (Isolde and Dido on the horizon.) One feels a lack of warmth in her middle register and that special connection that Leonie Rysanek and the young Gwyneth Jones brought to the role of Chrysothemis. Maybe Im being too fussy, but roles like Chrysothemis, Elizabeth (Tannhauser) Sieglinde and Die Kaiserin (Die Frau)should pull at the heart strings and Im afraid as yet, as commited as she is, I dont get this from Westbroek . With the arrival of Waltraud Meier as Klytamnestra,the heat really turns up.Meier recorded Klytamnestra for Barenboim some years ago,but this is her first stage presentation.As always with this incredible artist Meier gives a performance that brings out the many sides of the tormented Queen of Mycenae. Her voice after 35 years of singing does not now have that smokey velvet quality of the past,but the way she colours her voice and uses her whole body and face is a mesmerising experience. One wonders how she manages to differentiate all her roles so well.Her gentle Sieglinde,evil Ortrud,bewitching Kundry, and regal Dido. All portrayed in such different ways that one feels one is watching a different singer every time. That is genius I guess. There are many moments of amazing insight in her performance, but I sight only one. Lenhoff takes the calls for "Lights" (Mehr lichter) away from Klytamnestra when she hears of the (false) death of Orest and gives it to her serving women. Meier collapses to the ground in relief that her nightmare of him returning to kill her is ended, then her face breaks into extreme sadness.Yes he is dead but he was her only son. It is moments like these that show one of the greatest artists of the lyric stage at work.
Rene Pape as Orest must own one of the most beautiful bass voices on the stage today. His acting does leave something to be desired.He has a rather blank expression throughout, even when he recognises Elektra as his sister, he does not seem to register any surprise.Vocally however he is a joy. Daniele Gatti came in for some criticism for his conducting in Salzburg,many saying it was too loud and gave the singers some problems in being heard. Whatever the truth or not of this,the DVD engineers have struck a perfect balace. The sound and picture are superb. I will still keep my Elektra DVD from the Met.with Nilsson and Rysanek,both in the evening of their careers, but still pretty magnificent. This new version is a great performance and any one who loves Richard Strauss, and this Mad/Crazy opera should not hesitate to buy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful performance, 26 Aug 2014
By 
John Chandler (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I consider this performance only rivalled by the old Böhm recording (only available on DVD). Sadly it substantially betters the new Aix-en-Provence release due entirely to what should have been a wonderful performance suffering two fatal flaws: The lighting is just too dark and the English subtitles are in some form of mediaeval English and unintelligible. Here all is in balance and the singing and acting are superb. If you want a modern Elektra to hold you in your seat this is the one. If however you know the work well and only want to listen then the Aix performance has its merits. At current prices this Blu-ray disc is a steal!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb DVD, 7 Jan 2012
By 
Mr (Northwood, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first Blue-ray DVD I have ever seen. It is the best argument for watching opera in this format I can imagine. All the performers are completely inside their roles. They give performances that more than stand up to the intense scrutiny of the camera. Of course, you'd never be this close in the opera house - unless you were on stage with them! It's a real privilege to feel this close to some truly great performances.

Musically, everything is beautifully realised. Theorin and Meier are both subtle and dramatic. They don't just get through the notes. They sing them. They make daring vocal choices that are not dictated by limited technical resources. Westbroek and Pape are also wonderful. The orchestra is superb - and the sound is perfectly balanced.

My only quibble: I would have liked to see the curtain calls. The opera ends - the screen goes black - and that's it. The illusion of being in the opera house vanishes and you're plunged back into the mundane world of the living room!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet., 28 Mar 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I agree entirely with the previous reviewers; this is a monumental production and performance and along with the Bohm DVD will the yard stick by which all future ones will be judged.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very fine and very different Elektra, 23 Mar 2011
By 
John Chandler (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was a bit worried at the beginning as it was evident this was not going to be another standard Elektra and I have seen far too many director-indulged operatic Blu-rays to be sure all would be well. I need not have worried. This performance looks at the roles very differently. In Böhm's extraordinary and unforgetable performance Astrid Varnay is the personification of evil and one felt sorry for Elektra. here it is the other way round and it is Klytmänestra one feels for.Theorin is amazingly powerful and blazes with vengeance. Orest similarly is depicted as a mafia hitman! Meier portrays a very sad and almost brutalised Klytmänestra and it is a complete and very effective reversal of roles. My only comment is that Elektra is supposed to be Klytmänestra's daughter, yet visually she looks more like her mother! Theorin is no spring chicken and sings magnificently but with Blu-ray I feel more consideration needs to be given to looking the part as well. Despite this there is no better Elekta on disc since the Böhm and you really need both!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex Elektra, 10 May 2011
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The 2010 production of Elektra for the Salzburg Festspiele is an impressive production, Nikolaus Lehnhoff's staging as intense and claustrophobic as a staging of Strauss' opera ought to be. In addition, this production also benefits from a superlative cast including Iréne Theorin, Waltraud Meier, Eva-Maria Westbroek and René Pape, with Daniele Gatti conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker. It doesn't come much better than this and it does live up to expectations ...unless you already have a strong preference for another production.

Unsurprisingly, for a director like Lehnhoff working with such an opera, the stage setting is a reflection of the internal torment of Elektra, fixated as she is on the death of her father Agamemnon and the desire for vengeance against his murderers, her mother Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. She's waiting on her brother Orestes to exact that vengeance for her, but, hearing of his death from her sister Chrysothemis, she prepares to carry out the foul deed herself. Lehnhoff envisages the tempestuous fluctuations of Elektra's state of mind as a grey barren landscape, undulating and tilted, full of fractures and chasms from which horrors torment her and into which she is about to drop into at any moment. It's reminiscent of his 1999 stage setting for Wagner's Parsifal [Blu-ray], forcing one to draw interesting comparisons between Wagner's score for that opera and Strauss', the themes being similar in respect of Elektra in an eternal state of suffering and torment seeking release or purification.

If the stage setting is highly effective in this respect, it's impact is somewhat lessened by the lack of wide-shots to take in the whole stage, the filming for television focussing for the most part on close-ups of Iréne Theorin's fixed mask of madness, which is powerful, but limiting and not quite so effective as what is evoked by the stage set as a whole, and by her position alongside the other characters within that space, since Lehnhoff is very considered about the movement and placement of characters in relation to one another. Fortunately, there is much more expressed in this opera through the score and the singing than through the acting, and here Theorin is terrific, cutting an imposing figure vocally and through her physical presence that dictates the whole tone of the piece. Elektra is a notoriously difficult role for a singer, Theorin having to sing pretty much for an hour and a half without break in the one-act opera, and she rises to the challenge, seeming to grow in strength and intensity right up to the devastating conclusion.

The other singers likewise live up to expectations. René Pape, as you would expect is a strong Orestes, even if he lacks the necessary dramatic qualities here. Westbroek sometimes seems to be danger of going a little shrill and harsh, but shows nevertheless fine control and manages to remain a lyrical Chrysothemis, contrasting well with Theorin's Elektra. Theorin is also well-pitted against Waltraud Meier, but sparks don't fly as they might between Elektra and Clytemnestra, the production here finding a sense of deep mutual like-mother-like-daughter recognition in the two figures, both in the nature of their own internal conflict and in the depths that they are prepared to sink to. It's an interesting variation on the mythological relationship, but it doesn't capture the fullest extent of the conflict within of their relationship that is a little more "complex" (sorry!) and expressed with greater precision in the discordance of Richard Strauss' score.

Although it's hard to justify a preference for Linda Watson and Jane Henschel over Theorin and Meier, Watson's acting in particular being limited to the adoption of a haughty expression that is no match whatsoever for the brooding anguish of Theorin's interpretation, the Baden-Baden 2010 production is sung and played terrifically well with a striking staging, and I feel that Christian Thielemann's much more adventurous conducting brings out the dynamism in the opera and an edge that is missing here. That's a personal preference however, just as others might equally prefer the Karl Böhm version, since otherwise there's little to fault about the performances, staging or conducting of this fine production.

Other than the predominance of close-ups, there's little to fault with its presentation on Blu-ray either, the opera looking and sounding terrific in High Definition. Audience applause at the start and bows at the end have been eliminated, and I rather liked the dramatic integrity this gave the opera. Subtitles are in English, French, Spanish and Italian, but no German. Other than trailers for other releases, there are no extra features and only a brief essay and a synopsis in the booklet.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Nice but still disappointed!, 8 Feb 2014
By 
Mr. Mc Warwick (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Strauss: Elektra [DVD] [2011] [NTSC] (DVD)
I don't understand why this opera never seems to get the real treatment that it requires. This set was just another 4 sided courtyard - that's Ok, its what is expected but it was a bit too much Star Wars with a hint of Gestapo ? But the biggest disappointment once again was the music. For my ears not enough Raw edge and attack. This music is brilliant when the violence really barks through and the quieter moments have all the edge and tension of a horror movie! Should be easy but no one seems to get it since Solti in the 60's. It seems that most conductors when tackling it try to balance it symphonically. Doing that diminishes the overall effect. Also the intermezzo sections between changes of mood and character need some effect - some movement. There is no reason not to have a writhing enterourage for Klytemnestras arrival even though they are not singing parts. A kind of obscene ballet is called for in my mind. See the Harry Kupfer version of the 1980s. He got it as right as I could ever imagine it. It would be really nice to see it stripped back to an ancient Greek performance with nothing much more than torchlight in a set rather resembling a kind of Labrynth.
There is no doubt that it was beautifully sung and acted but as I said earlier it was very thin on the bones. Big music needs big action. You have this fantastic music climaxing and you are looking at an almost empty stage leaving you thinking " What was all that about?" especially if you don't know the opera that well. The closing section did have some rather weird staging which I wont go into if you are going to buy it. A bit strange but too little too late. Even so it is still probably the best version to hit the stage in this current Pop Opera trend of productions. I will live in hope that someone will get the real insight into what I would call a good interpretation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! An All Time Great Performance., 20 Jan 2014
By 
H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This Blu-Ray DVD is accompanied by a most helpful booklet giving information and explanations that greatly enhance the understanding and enjoyment of the work. Both sound and picture quality are excellent and the opera lasts for 109 minutes. The awesome staging gives the appearance of bleak concrete pitted with rectangular holes representing windows, doors and holes in the ground, from which the chorus and individuals emerge and return into from time to time. This bleakness fits in perfectly with the theme of this great work by Richard Strauss.

I have no hesitation at all in labelling this performance as an all time great. It's hard to see how Irene Theorin's performance as Electra could be bettered in any way and she is supported by an equally impressive rest of the cast, all of whom obviously benefit from top quality direction. Richard Strauss had this wonderful way of being able to fit the music so perfectly into the real life emotions experienced by all kinds of people and this production inspires us with its near perfect interpretation of what the great master intended.

I can't see how any Richard Strauss fan could fail to be inspired by this intelligent version of Elektra, which presents ancient Greek legend as taking place in the mid nineteen thirties if the appropriately designed costumes are anything to go by. With Strauss nothing stops for anything as it does in some traditional grand operas when a lead role is singing an aria. Here the music is appropriate to every nook and cranny of life and not only do all the singers sing to perfection, they also act to perfection. If you love the music of Richard Strauss you cannot fail to be inspired by this all time great presentation of Elektra.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Generally a fine performance. I have reservations with Irene Theorin's Elektra, 12 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Generally a fine performance. I have reservations with Irene Theorin's Elektra. It is not really an Elektra voice and the constant vibrato is a bit tiresome.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Strauss: Elektra [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]
Strauss: Elektra [DVD] [2011] [NTSC] by Iréne Theorin (DVD - 2011)
£24.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews