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Strauss: Elektra [DVD] 
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Unruly Elektra wishes to avenge the murder of her father Agamemnon by her mother Klytemnestra and step-father Aegisth. She attempts to enlist the help of her sister Chrysothemis, who is sympathetic but reluctant to become involved. When Elektra hears of her brother Orest's death, she begins to plan her revenge, digging up the axe which killed her father. Performed by the Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. The video is accompanied by a booklet. Directed by Harry Kupfer, with Eva Marton and Brigitte Fassbaender in the lead roles.
Richard Strauss's wildest and most passionate opera gets an almost ideal performance in this 1989 production with three great female singers at the height of their powers. Marton is terrifyingly unreasonable as Elektra, determined to mourn her dead father in the face of her mother who had him killed, and to hope and pray for the vengeance that her brother will one day bring. Told he is dead, her emotional collapse is equally total, and her eventual self-destructive dance of triumph is a bittersweet ecstasy of anger and joy. Studer gives the sometimes underplayed role of the normal, compromising "feminine" sister the weight and sympathy Strauss intended it to have. Fassbaender is electric as Clytemnestra, collapsing under the weight of her guilt and paranoia, but still scarily sexy and regal in her manipulation of those around her. Abbado's conducting is electric--from the opening "Agamemnon" chords to the final dying fall of Elektra's dance, he never puts a foot wrong or misjudges the pacing of this most difficult of opera scores. The DVD has subtitles in English, German and French. --Roz Kaveney
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