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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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Opera is even more accessible during the 2012/13 season, as the Edmonton Opera has made changes to its production schedule to allow for matinée performances.
In addition to three nighttime performances, there will be a 2 p.m. performance on the Sunday during the production run. This earlier performance allows for out-of-town opera enthusiasts to enjoy the performance without making an overnight trip, or for families to expose their children to the art form and still make it home at a family-friendly hour.
One of the grand operas, Aida will grace the Edmonton stage for the first time in over a decade when the Edmonton Opera opens its 49th season next month. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, Edmonton Opera joins other opera houses around the world honouring the great composer and his works.
The Verdi masterpiece will be presented in its full splendor, with roughly 100 performers, including principal artists, chorus members, supernumeraries and Brian Webb dancers on stage together at any given time.
The exclusive launch of the Opera Art Project will happen later this month, as the Edmonton Opera and the Alberta Craft Council come together for a new arts venture.
Local artists have created opera-themed fine craft, offering opera patrons a chance to take home memories of the 2012/13 mainstage season performances. The works will be on display and available for purchase for the first time on Sept. 28, prior to the opening of Aida.
Artists involved in the project come mainly from the Edmonton area and offer a wide variety of fine craft.
Local craft artists are making it possible for opera patrons to take home memories of the 2012/2013 season mainstage performances, thanks to the partnership between the Edmonton Opera and the Alberta Craft Council.
After a successful Opera Coat Project a few years ago, the Edmonton Opera and the Alberta Craft Council have partnered again for the Opera Art Project, where artists will create operaâ€specific pieces as it relates to their medium.