Directed by Gotz Friedrich

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* * * *


Synopsis & Analysis
Gotz Friedrich's television version of Richard Strauss' Elektra is brutal, atavistic, and remarkably effective. Most modern re-imaginings of operas are artistic failures. The innovative elements incorporated into such productions tend to be aesthetically unappealing and frequently distract the viewer from the music. Friedrich's Elektra is an exception. He brings to the opera all the primal ferocity of the original myth and thereby conjures up a terrifying and unforgettable vision. The darkness and brutality the director evokes may not be appealing to everyone, but such elements are both effectively used and in keeping with the sentiments of the story itself.

In fact, the strange, carnivalesque costumes convey a sense of transformative ecstasy, and the staging, in an abandoned factory, gives the production an apocalyptic feeling. Furthermore, such elements heighten the emotive impact of an opera which tells the stories of maddened individuals lunging after their own deaths. The director is, consequently, able to draw the viewer into a strange, otherworldly realm of terrible brutality and to submerge him in the wild, uncontrolled emotions of Strauss' characters.

By so bringing to life a dark, violent, harsh world, by evoking the primal qualities present in myth, Friedrich has managed to infuse Elektra with a real sense of ferocity that is rare in operatic productions.

Review by Keith Allen

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© 2004 Keith Allen. All rights reserved.
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