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Strauss: Elektra / Ozawa, Behrens, Ludwig, Hynninen, BSO

Sawallisch / Thomas/Silja
Release Date: 09/17/2013 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001895502   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Brian MatthewsEmily RawlinsDominique LabelleCynthia Haymon,   ... 
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony OrchestraTanglewood Festival Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a knockout. There is so much heat generated in this performance that you may be tempted to get the fire extinguisher. Ozawa might not have been everyone's first choice for an Elektra conductor, but he comes through with flying colors, and so does his orchestra. The energy level is very high. Ozawa goes for, and gets, the build-up of lunacy in the music—he begins lyrically but brings out the desperation/mania little by little, and the whole practically stuns, as it should. The BSO plays spectacularly, with searing brass and nervous strings, but the Recognition Scene rarely has sounded more like an exquisite release of tension.

Hildegard Behrens' Elektra is terrifying in its intensity. She's afraid of nothing as a
Read more singer, and her vivid reduction to the animal level at "Triff noch einmal" is almost unbearable. The rawness in her voice—and it is undeniably there (and may displease some)—is altogether appropriate. I wish Nadine Secunde's Chrysothemis was better; she tends to sing under the note (especially near the opera's close), but she reads the text with great feeling. Christa Ludwig's Klytemnestra is a dangerous, not-as-frail-as-we're-used-to figure, and she goes for the grotesque subtleties. Both men are superb for what they do—Hynninen is an heroic Orestes and Ulfung makes us want to run. The handmaidens, or whatever they're called, are properly deranged. The sound is spacious and spotless, magnificently so for a live recording.

—Robert Levine, ClasscsToday.com
reviewing Philips 422574 Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Elektra, Op. 58 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Brian Matthews (Bass), Emily Rawlins (Soprano), Dominique Labelle (Soprano),
Brian Matthews (Baritone), Cynthia Haymon (Soprano), Marita Napier (Soprano),
Wendy Hillhouse (Soprano), Joan Khara (Mezzo Soprano), Ragnar Ulfung (Tenor),
Jorma Hynninen (Baritone), Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano), Hildegard Behrens (Soprano),
Nadine Secunde (Soprano), Brad Cresswell (Tenor), Diane Kesling (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/1988 
Venue:  Live  Symphony Hall, Boston 
Length: 102 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: German 

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