Saturday, 25 January 2014

Two Saxon Elektras

This time last week I was arriving in Leipzig, ready for a weekend of Saxon Straussery; or should that be Straussian Saxonary? Either way, it amounted to two performances of Elektra in two days, the first at Oper Leipzig, the second at the magnificent Semperoper in Dresden. My review for the Spectator's here, so I won't go into any more detail in this slightly picture-heavy post, apart from perhaps to continue my nascent paean to the Semperoper itself.

Having heard some concerts there in previous years, as well as Thielemann conducting Lohengrin there last January, I already knew about the fabulous acoustic. (I can't remember off the top of my head all the details of the pre-history of Wagner's Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, but surely the very broad stalls area in Dresden was an influence; and Semper was heavily involved in the abandoned plans for a Wagner theatre in Munich.) But still, to hear the Strauss's score was something special;  today, incidentally, marks exactly 105 years since Elektra was premiered there). And Evelyn Herlitzius's much-touted Elektra lived up to the hype. (Here's a bit of it, in what looks like a somewhat 'unofficial' film).

And here's a taste of the reaction it elicited.

Fewer pictures from Leipzig, I'm afraid. But I did manage to get this snap from its enormous railway station, the world's largest by floor area, Wikipedia kindly informs me.

It was taken, incidentally, the morning after a very nice meal in the same Ecke of Zum [arabischen] Coffe Baum (one of the two oldest coffee houses in Europe--I hope you're keeping up with all these superlatives) that Schumann and his pals used to frequent.

I hope to be back in Leipzig later in the year, where in a genuinely intriguing piece of programming they'll be running their new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten alongside  reruns of last year's Die Feen: two works loosely based on the same Gozzi source which tell us, as I suggested after last year's Chelsea Opera Group performance of the Wagner, a great deal about their respective creators.

1 comment:

  1. EH was Chereau's final Muse--a short clip of their Elektra made me want to see the whole production. Meier was also the Klyt.