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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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The final opera of the 2013/14 season is a revival of the acclaimed Opera North production in Leeds, England, directed by Tim Albery and with French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels returning to the title role.
During a performance at the Grand Theatre in Leeds, a Telegraph reviewer described Duprels’ voice by saying, “For sheer sweetness of personality, for sheer pathos, I have seen few to match her.”
Dressed in their finest, nearly 800 prominent Albertans shared their love for the arts and appreciation for continuing care on Friday, at the annual Valentine’s Gala hosted by Edmonton Opera and the CapitalCare Foundation.
The Edmonton Opera’s 2014/15 season is one of Great Escapes, as each opera demands its principal characters perform a variety of clever and cunning exits — from a lecherous old man in The Barber of Seville, from magical beings in The Magic Flute, and from a constrained, loveless marriage in Lucia di Lammermoor.
A romantic musical comedy, Edmonton Opera’s production of Die Fledermaus opens at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Feb. 1 (tickets are nearly sold out) and continues Feb. 4 and 6.
The media dress rehearsal will be Thursday, Jan. 30, at 11 a.m. Good visuals occur at approximately 12:20 p.m., when there is a large number of cast members and chorus on stage during the masked ball scenes.
Famous for its chaotic plot and catchy melodies written by the Waltz King Johann Strauss II, many of the artists performing in the February production of Edmonton Opera’s Die Fledermaus have a personal connection to the work.
Director Allison Grant has previously choreographed and been the assistant director four other times on the popular German opera — performed in English at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium — including a 1996 EO production under Kelly Robinson.