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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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Media are invited to attend the Canadian Heritage funding announcement on Friday, March 1, at 1 p.m., at Edmonton Opera’s production facility (15230-128 Ave.).
Next season, Edmonton Opera’s presence will be felt equally on and off the stage.
The opera company announced its 50th anniversary season on Jan. 23, which includes productions of Richard Strauss’ Salome, Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
In addition, anniversary-specific projects have been announced for 2013/14: an Edmonton Opera chorus concert in November 2013, a Canadian new work competition known as Opera Next and an education partnership called DIY Opera.
For a 400-year-old tradition, 50 years looks pretty good on the Edmonton Opera.
The programming for our half-century anniversary in 2013/14 will be announced on Jan. 23 at noon in the Edmonton City Centre Mall on the second-floor pedway (near Tim Hortons).
Details on media parking will be made available closer to the date of the event and upon RSVP of media outlets.
The 40-minute event will include the announcement with comments from Sandra Gajic, Edmonton Opera CEO, and an opera performance by artists currently engaged by the company.