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When Elektra premiered in 1909, The New York Times review hailed composer Richard Strauss as “a genius and a wizard,” describing the opening night audience as “numbed, stunned, [and] hypnotized.” This groundbreaking one-act psychological thriller has since become known as one of the most riveting operas in the repertoire.
Based on an ancient Greek play by Sophocles, Elektra follows the journey of its protagonist as she pursues revenge against her mother. But when she becomes more and more obsessed with revenge, Elektra’s dark mind begins to unravel until, in a horrifying climax, her fragile psyche shatters completely.
Edmonton Opera presents the Alberta premiere of Strauss’s masterpiece in a newly designed, post-apocalyptic production that propels the Electra myth into a forlorn future. Director Michael Cavanagh and costume designer Deanna Finnman draw inspiration from the thundering and cinematic music of Elektra to create a dystopian landscape inhabited by characters on the brink of madness.
Elektra brings together a cast of 16 singers from across the continent, including powerhouse dramatic soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs, known for her portrayals of opera’s ‘madwomen’ – Lady Macbeth (which she performed at the Met Opera), Salome, and Elektra. Blancke-Biggs’s previous performance as Elektra garnered praise for her “solid and brilliant” high notes (Teatro) and her “breathtakingly fascinating interpretation” of this challenging role (Liricamente).
Strauss’s massive score will be brought to life by over 70 musicians of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and led by their incoming Chief Conductor, 24-year-old British sensation Alexander Prior.
Featuring an all-star cast, stylish post-apocalyptic costumes, and Richard Strauss’s bold modernist music, Elektra will take Edmonton audiences by storm like no opera before.
Elektra will be sung in German with projected English translation. Performances are on Saturday, Mar. 11 (8 p.m.), Tuesday, Mar. 14 (7:30 p.m.), and Thursday, Mar. 16 (7:30 p.m.) at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets start at $40, and special pricing for patrons under 40 is available.
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This April, audiences will witness the dramatic showdown between two famous Tudor queens in Edmonton Opera’s season clincher, the Alberta premiere of Donizetti’s Mary Stuart.
Queen Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, never got along. Elizabeth was always afraid her Catholic cousin would usurp her throne, and kept Mary prisoner for 20 years before having her beheaded. Their rivalry, however, was only ever carried out by letter—the two queens never met.
There may only be three performances of Carmen in Edmonton this winter, but Edmonton Opera staff have been living with the production for months.
The scenery and costumes for the production, set on the verge of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, were built locally, in Edmonton Opera's northside production facility.
This new concept for Carmen was envisioned by director Maria Lamont, scenery designer Camellia Koo, costume designer Deanna Finnman and lighting designer David Fraser, and it will be unveiled Jan. 30 at the Jubilee.
Bizet's story of passionate, destructive love heats up the Jubilee stage this winter, in a new production of Carmen.
The new concept, envisioned by director Maria Lamont, scenery designer Camellia Koo, costume designer Deanna Finnman and lighting designer David Fraser, sets the action within the tumultuous years leading up to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
"The intense passion and doomed love of Don José and Carmen touches us because we all understand the attraction and ultimate impossibility of a certain kind of love," Lamont wrote in her director's notes.
A dash of romance, a scoop of comedy and a pinch of schemes is the recipe for The Merry Widow, the musical confection that opens Edmonton Opera's 2015/16 season.
All of Paris' eligible bachelors are vying for a place on the rich widow Hanna's dance card, but it spells financial ruin for the small nation of Pontevedro if she falls in love with a foreigner. In their own way, each of the characters strives for a happy ending, but it's Hanna (sung by Canadian soprano Sally Dibblee) who skilfully guides and nutures the huge emotion known as love throughout the story.
Edmonton Opera continues to add to the vibrancy of the arts and culture community in the city, by participating in Alberta Culture Days at the end of the month.
Held at Kingsway Mall, Around the World with Opera is a full day of free events that highlight the variety of cultures and art forms that combine in opera. Not only are there scheduled operatic performances, but Dave ganert, choreographer for The Merry Widow, will be leading workshops on dances featured in the opera.