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Subject: Elektra in Zurich
From: Jeffrey Collord <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jeffrey Collord <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 8 Feb 2010 16:58:06 -0600

text/plain (52 lines)


I took a little Europe opera tour to celebrate my Golden Jubilee.

First stop was Zurich, where I saw Elektra, a week ago Sunday. This was a
thrilling performance! It was the same production as in the DVD from a year
or two ago, with Eva Johansson again as Elektra. Ms Johansson gave a totally
committed performance in a well-thought-out characterization. She was a
furious young woman, whose fury derived from the circumstances and did not
veer into "madness." She had occasional vocal difficulty, but for the most
part sang very well at a wide variety of dynamics and with a core lovely
voice that I hope hasn't been damaged by this role.

It was a joy for me to see Agnes Baltsa as Klytaemenstra. We saw Ms. Baltsa
so many times at Lyric Opera of Chicago in the 80s through early 90s, but I
think it's been 17 years since her last performances here. She looked
fantastic, and her voice was strong and commanding. This was a Klytaemenstra
who made the lines about her relations with Aegisthus seem very believable.
Emily Magee was a near-ideal Chrysothemis: vulnerable, gorgeous-voiced.
Martin Gantner was an Orest with der Wanderer in his voice, which made the
recognition scene seem very Wagnerian. (Perhaps it always does.)

The conductor was Daniele Gatti, and he gave the opera a tremendous
propulsion, but really luxuriated in the recognition scene.

The production was very well directed. There were a lot of puzzling
contemporary Euro-style touches, such as naked palace hangers-on rushing
through the scene, but I still thought they made a positive contribution and
the whole production worked extremely well for me.

I loved it that when the opera was over the entire audience stayed through
the applause - I didn't see anyone rush out, and the audience really loved
the performance.

The next opera stop was I Puritani in Vienna, with Edita Gruberova. I'll
write about that in another post.

Jeff Collord - Back in Chicago

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