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Richard Strauss' ELEKTRA, Vienna 1965 (Nilsson, Rysanek, Resnik, Waechter, Windgassen, Bohm)

Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Regina Resnik in ELEKTRA. Live recording, 15 December 1965.
Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Regina Resnik in ELEKTRA.
Live recording, 16 December 1965.

30 September 2017

I have ordered this 2-CD opera set 2 months ago and it was picked up from Post Office NIA yesterday. This is a great recording in many ways. For one, we have three great singers -- Birgit Nilsson as Elektra, Leonie Rysanek as Chrysothemis, and Regina Resnik as Klytemnestra.

It is a live recording which captures some sort of hysteria and excitement that always escape from polished studio recordings.

It is Birgit Nilsson's first Elektra. The sound engineering is great, and it is rare for you to hear Birgit Nilsson recorded sounding big and in full force. They usually place her too far from the microphones because of her big voice, and she always lamented that her voice sounds tiny in recordings.

Leonie Rysanek has been a great Chrysothemis for decades. In 1981, the sang Elektra only one for a film, it was Karl Bohm's (who was also the conductor in this live recording) dying wish. In her final decade, she sang the role of Klytemnestra. Whatever leading lady in this opera she sang, she always brought hysteria.

Regina Resnik is the Klytemnestra here. Deliciously insane.

Conductor Karl Bohm delivers a frenzied orchestral interpretation with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Of course, I have to thank Orfeo International Music for making this recording commercially available -- especially the engineers for making the wonderful sound recording come alive!

This 2-CD opera set retailed around P1,500 + FREE International Economy Shipping. I decided to do a different kind of music video than my usual. In the style of an unboxing video. It just occurred in my head today. Always thinking of doing things differently every time!

Birgit Nilsson, Leonie Rysanek, Regina Resnik in ELEKTRA. Live recording, 15 December 1965.

It is important to credit the engineers, so I'm including this shot here.


Richard Strauss
(Tragedy in one act.)

Birgit Nilsson, ELEKTRA
Leonie Rysanek, CHRYSOTHEMIS
Eberhard Waechter, OREST
Wolfgang Windgassen, AEGIST

Gerhard Unger, Young Servant
Herbert Lackner, Old Servant
Danica Mastilovic, Trainbearer

Five Maids:
Margareta Sjostedt
Margarita Lilowa
Margarete Ast
Gundula Janowitz
Gera Sheyrer

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Karl Bohm

Live From
Vienna State Opera
16 December 1965

Artistic Supervision
Gottfried Kraus

Recording Supervision
Hans Sachs

Recording Engineer
Rudolf Horr

Digital Remastering

Harald Huber

Sound Design
Othmar Eichinger

Cover Design
Atelier Langenfass, Ismaning

(c) 2014 ORFEO International Music, Munchen


Elektra laments that her father was murdered by her mother and her lover Aegisth. She plans about the day of revenge and bursts into a mad dance. Her sister Chrysothemis disrupts her and tells her that their mother is having nightmares again, that she was being strangled to death.

Elektra confronts her mother: "...and I who sent the hunter to you, I stand there and finally see you die! Then you will have no more nightmares, and everyone in the house will rejoice!"

News about Elektra's brother, Orest, comes that he has been killed. Elektra recruits her sister Chrysothemis to perform carry out the deed -- to slaughter their mother in her sleep, as well as her lover Aegisth.

Orest is alive. He enters the house and screams from inside were later heard -- their mother Klytemnestra has been murdered. Everyone rushes to the scene in panic, but later retreat to their rooms to avoid being accused of murder.

Aegisth, the lover of Klytemnestra, arrives, not knowing what just happened. Elektra's presence at the door to Klytemnestra's palace arouses his suspicion. She lures him into the house, where Orest and his men are waiting for the guests. Aegisth enters and stumbles upon the dead body of Queen Klytemnestra. He struggles to scream for help, but was murdered.

Elektra's younger sister, Chrysothemis, rushes to her to deliver the good news that their brother Orest is alive and has come to liberate them. There is a commotion inside the palace as everyone threw themselves into battle.

Elektra, who by now, is dissociated with reality, throws herself into a mad frenzied dance. After which she suddenly falls dead. Chrysothemis calls for help, but nobody hears her. Elektra is left alone in the closing scene, dead.

What a dysfuncional family!!!

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