[Met Performance] CID:315090
Elektra {77} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/15/1994.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 15, 1994


ELEKTRA {77}
R. Strauss-Hofmannsthal

Elektra.................Penelope Daner
Chrysothemis............Deborah Voigt
Klytämnestra............Brigitte Fassbaender
Orest...................Donald McIntyre
Aegisth.................James King
Overseer................Janet Hopkins
Serving Woman...........Elizabeth Byrne
Serving Woman...........Theresa Cincione
Serving Woman...........Kaaren Erickson
Serving Woman...........Ellen Rabiner
Serving Woman...........Jane Shaulis
Confidant...............Judith Goldberg
Trainbearer.............Jean Rawn
Young Servant...........Philip Creech
Old Servant.............Richard Vernon
Guardian................Herbert Perry

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Otto Schenk
Stage Director..........Paul Mills
Designer................Jürgen Rose
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler

Review of Barrymore Laurence Scherer in the March 5, 1994 issue of Opera News

A surprising number of people braved an arctic freeze to attend the January 15 performance at the Metropolitan Opera of Strauss' "Elektra." An indisposed Hildegard Behrens was replaced by Penelope Daner in the title role. Daner is a forceful singer, but her soprano seemed a bit small for the vengeful Mycenaean princess. Worse, however, her movements were usually tentative, the energy of each violent gesture seemingly dissipated by lack of conviction. This was partly the fault of Otto Schenk's stage direction, in which too many of Elektra's movements are reminiscent of a little lost boy in "Peter Pan." (Even when the production was new, two seasons ago, Behrens seemed equally uncomfortable with it.) Playing opposite veteran mezzo Brigitte Fassbaender presented Daner with a challenge to help chew up the scenery, but the soprano contained herself, keeping her eyes glued much of the time to the prompter. Still, there were some fine touches, especially the breathless way she sang the telling line "Nun denn, allein" - not with pat bravura, but with adolescent fear. And there was her subtle show of incipient heart failure during the final dance.

Fassbaender's Klytämnestra, gasping and choking on intractable guilt, was a tour de force shot through with lunatic pathos. Her widened vibrato and driven tone were an asset. Using considerable straight tone in the chest and exploiting the break in her voice, as well as an occasional weep, she was nightmarishly funny, a sort of great-
aunt from hell, with rubbery mouth and heavy-lidded saucer eyes. Her whole body brimmed with expressive energy, and her hysteria at learning of Orest's supposed death was a masterpiece of black comedy.

Deborah Voigt has grown into the role of Chrysothemis; her acting and singing have become more assured. Her soliloquy about wanting to live a full, maternal life was impassioned, and her final cries to Orest soared out over the resounding Met orchestra, which James Levine conducted with savage color. Donald McIntyre's imposing Orest revealed his voice as strong and richly warm. James King's Aegisth was a splendid cameo, capped with a comical "Bah!" of disdain as he goes to his unexpected doom.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).