Saturday, September 13, 2014

Night at the opera- Elektra

A friend received from Klara, the classic radio station in Belgium, two VIP seats for Elektra, an opera by Richard Strauss, so I ended up in this bunch of opera going people, starting out with a glass of champaign and a divine chocolate mouse. I like to watch the filing in of people, to listen to the civilized hum of voices. The text, or libretto is based on a theatre text by Hofmannsthal. This seasons theme is 'Onmacht': Powerlessness... Max Reinhardt is the director of this chilling performance. The story: Klyt√§mnestra, Elektra's mother  together with her lover Aighistos killed her husband Agamemnon. Elektra is out for revenge, she becomes crazy, delusional, bitter, scheming and is taunting her mother. Chrysothemis is the other daughter who wants love and to have babies. She wants to escape the logic of revenge choosing for life. Orestes, the brother, is thought dead but he is alive and quite willing to perform the avenging act for Elektra, who by the way had dug up the ax used to kill her father so that in a kind of poetic justice his two murderers are killed by the same weapon. (I always loved Greek mythology, yet the murders, the incest among gods and royal families would sometimes be too much... ) Back to music and art: The role of Elektra is quiet a load, the grandiose Gertrud Eysoldt is always present on the stage. It is a heavy role in this one hour and forty-seven minutes opera. The role of the younger sister Chrysothemis was in excellent hands, a real nice performance, Orestes too was great. All the character parts were excellent as was the choir.
Yet most destabilizing was the decor by Patrick Bannwart and Maria Wolgast. The queen had been offering every day animals to the gods to give her peace and the scene where these animals fall into and on the stage is gruesome. When the blood flows over the walls it is disconcerting. What to me was the message of this opera is that by shedding blood, only more blood is shed in the end. Rache, paying back, avenging, wraak, an eye for an eye... it doesn't work. Stop violence... Make love, not war...

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