Message from Elektra conductor Alex Prior

Edmonton Opera Blog

Message from Elektra conductor Alex Prior


Ready? There's no experience quite like Richard Strauss's Elektra! You will be pinned to your seat, overwhelmed, disgusted, delighted, feel like head banging, be blown away by the sheer power of the orchestra's sounds, taken aback by the lush melodies, and amazed at what the human voice can do... all in under two hours. 

Elektra represents both the absolute climax of the Romantic operatic tradition and the beginning of dark clouds smouldering in the horizon – clouds of a bleaker time for the world, and a time of music that is rougher and more visceral. Strauss wrote Elektra in the early 20th century, when Europe's gentlemanly heyday was giving way to forces of evil and society was falling apart all around him. This ancient Greek tragedy of decay and the danger of an obsession with revenge thus touched him very personally.

Elektra is in many ways the hardest opera in the repertoire to pull off for everyone involved, and tonight’s Alberta premiere is an epic testament to Edmonton Opera's ambition, vision, and strength.

The powerful score of Elektra is certainly a tough listen, but one with amazing rewards to be had. I invite you to let the music completely envelop you, to be entirely absorbed by the drama and become part of it.  Forget everything around you and let the opening orchestral scream of the "AGAMEMNON!" theme usher you straight into this brutal world. 

I believe you'll find that in spite of the extreme distortions this opera presents on various fronts, you will recognize and identify with many elements in a very personal way. Have we not all at times wanted family drama to be trumped by forgiveness and love? Have we not all yearned to go back to some non-existent good old day of childhood nostalgia? And, in addition to all of that, I know that this unique, extraordinary music that lies somewhere between German folk tunes and hardcore heavy metal, will leave an unforgettable impression on you and touch you to your very depths – perhaps in a way most music doesn't.


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Elektra plays March 11, 14 and 16. Get your tickets from $40!

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