Sunday, May 17, 2015


The dream cast details for May 14 Elektra are in the link.

Below I've made brief notes* of those I seen before, the who what and where, before any "I'm Still Alice" days. I watched it on the plane.

These thoughts are early and loose and rushed before everything catches up with me and nothing gets put down.

The Herbert Werneke production (a few years old) plays out mostly down stage before a giant near full proscenium sized Rothko-like blackest of black panel (and sound board) which occasionally revolves on its diagonal tom expose a Kltämnestra red full stage vacant except for a flight of stairs, or sometimes if edged with a royal Orest blue light, when appropriate. The only anything else is an axe.

The key here is a long heavy royal red and gold mantle, which Klytämnestra struggle to bear when first seen and then always thereafter until, completely broken after the final exchange with Elektra she abandons it, everted black, later to be claimed by Orest who will strut it on one shoulder, like a toreador in for the kill, before, in the final revelation of the rotating boundary, is seen triumphantly wearing it, a royal train of tyranny, mis-stairs where we first saw his mother.

That this red gold symbol is a large swatch of the house curtain is open to nay or many interpretations, including I suppose that it seemed like a good idea at the time. But it is elegant to note that into the abstractions of the 'Rothko' set where performers are as much singing emotions as personalities, Orest arrives in a three piece suit and assassin black leather gloves and what's more, he arrives from the Prince's box. 

All the main characters bar one know exactly the road ahead; certainty is the thing from the outset. Elektra never lets the axe go, it both actual and intent, except for the short time she hands it to Chrysothemis. Orest is a nasty nasty piece of work, and the palace will always be his. Only Chrysothemis is out of this loop, wide eyed in despair and bewilderment.

My sympathies were completely with the women. No rescuer this Orest, but a predetermined killer who even during the recognition scene, whose pathos was tear-jerking, spent his time trying to secure his inheritance to his shoulders. 

Spoiler alert: Elektra's death was no death by opera, death by dance, death by drainage of life force, but for the final dance she stood feet wide, firmly planted, not one step taken, rocking slowly, sex swinging, before disembowelling herself (back to audience thankfully) upon seeing her victorious brother arm out in royal command, the evil continued.

Theorin's Elektra was outstanding. I don't have the words except to say this was way beyond mere megaphonics and derangement. She delivered a vocal and emotional subtlety which caught me by surprise and captured me completely. 

Waltraud Meier's Klytämnestra is now legendary in its contained intensity. Gunter Groissbock's Orest is finally a voice which could kill its mother. Richard Merbeth's Chrysthomis was well sung but the look and sounds trended too mature for my instincts, or template, for this role. We were very close; perhaps distance might distill.

Asher Fisch, whom I like a lot, let the singers sing, and let every nuance and detail bubble up through the ferment in this at times achingly sad and intimate work. Of course, they played brilliantly.

Waltraude Meier (Klytemnestra)
       Sieglinde, La Scala
Irene Theorin (Elektra)
       Brunnehilde Walkure, Munich
       Isolde, Bayreuth
       Brunnehilde Ring Cycle, La Scala
Ricarda Merbeth (Chrysothemis)
       Four Last Songs, Sydney
Asher Fisch (with the stick)
      Ring Cycle, Adelaide

No comments: