by Paula Citron
The Canadian Opera Company’s production of the Richard Strauss/Hugo von Hofmannsthal masterpiece Elektra perfectly captures the harrowing journey of Sophocles’ tragedy. Director Thomas de Mallet Burgess’ staging makes wonderful use of the German expressionistic set and costumes of Derek McLane and Anita Stewart respectively. Thomas C. Hase’s garish lighting is particularly effective. Hearing Strauss’s brilliant orchestration in the new house is a gift to be savoured, and conductor Richard Bradshaw goes for the jugular in terms of dramatic storytelling.
Soprano Susan Bullock is superb in the title role, and brings a real edge to her performance. Contralto Ewa Podles is brilliant as the tortured Klytamnestra. while soprano Alwyn Mellor as Chrysothemis displays a big voice albeit wild pitch. Good performances come from tenor John Mac Master as Aegisth, baritone Daniel Sutin as Orest, and soprano Roxanne Rowedder as the First Maid. The young singers of the ensemble acquit themselves well in secondary parts.
Elektra continues until May 19.
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.