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Forming part of the Cycle - From Zeus to Varoufakis


by Richard Strauss


Elektra, by Richard Strauss (1864-1949), is certainly the culmination – in terms of its audacity – of the work of one of the composers who most contributed to modernism in the twentieth century.
In 1909, when Elektra was first performed in Dresden, Strauss was just a few months short of 45 years of age. Although he already had behind him works that had subjected the tonal language of music to occasional abuses, in Elektra he reached levels of harmonic, orchestral, vocal and dramaturgical boldness that shocked its audience (and still continues to do so today). Immediately afterwards, in 1911, Strauss himself was to turn towards seductiveness and classicism in the style of Mozart in the opera Der Rosenkavalier, in this way definitively moving away from the temptations of modernism.
Collaborating for the first time with Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929), Strauss returned, after Salome, to Classical Antiquity as the setting for one of the most difficult tragedies to deal with, in terms of what it suggests to us about our more scandalous passions: a father who sacrifices one of his daughters, a wife and her paramour who assassinate her husband, another daughter, Elektra, who, because she loves her father too much – the “Elektra complex”? – seeks vengeance for him through her mother’s death (at the hands of her brother, whom she also loves greatly), ending up dying herself. The musical “signature” of this conflict is the “Elektra Chord”, on which a large part of the musical structure is based, and which consists of two completely dissonant chords – C-sharp Major and E-Major – being played together, overlapping with one another.
The action is dominated by the figure of Elektra, who enters the stage after only six minutes and remains there until the very end, struggling with a colossal orchestra, both of them dominating the opera in a kind of great dramatic monologue that only increases the obsessive feeling conveyed by the plot.
In this regard alone, Elektra can be understood – a posteriori – as an epiphany of the repressed political and social conflicts that were to result in the previously unheard violence (this one being perfectly real) of the First World War.

                                                                                                                                                                  Sérgio Azevedo, 2017

Musical Direction Leo Hussain
Stage Direction Nicola Raab
Set design and costumes Luís F. Carvalho
Lighting design Nuno Meira
Elektra Nadja Michael
Chrysothemis Allison Oakes
Clytemnestra Lioba Braun
Orestes James Rutherford
Aegisthus Marco Alves dos Santos
Tutor (Guardian) of Orestes Mário Redondo
Confidant Sónia Alcobaça
An old servant Rui Baeta
A young servant João Terleira
The overseer Patrícia Quinta
Maids Maria Luísa de Freitas, Cátia Moreso, Paula Dória, Carla Simões, Filipa van Eck

Choir of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos
Chief Conductor Giovanni Andreoli

Portuguese Symphony Orchestra
Chief Conductor Joana Carneiro

Coproduction | CCB | OPART

1 february 2018 | 08:00PM
4 february 2018 | 04:00PM
7 february 2018 | 08:00PM

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