Ever since his filming of "Salome" with stage director Götz Friedrich in
1974, it had been one of Karl Böhm's greatest wishes to realize an
"Elektra" film with the same director. The production was completed in
1981. That spring, Böhm conducted the soundtrack for the film in Vienna
with the Vienna Philharmonic - it was the great musician's last recording.
His death on 14 August 1981 in Salzburg, while work was still in progress
on this film, makes "Elektra" his artistic legacy. No other opera by
Richard Strauss calls for such gigantic vocal and instrumental forces as
"Elektra". The work surges with savage polyphonic sonorities typical of
expressionism. "Elektra" was the first work written in collaboration with
the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal and was premiered in the Semper Opera in
Dresden on 25 January 1909. In this production, history, psychoanalysis and
modern-day apocalyptic visions are presented with compelling urgency
through Friedrich's staging and Böhm's artistic mastery. "Elektra" becomes
a contemporary myth of desperate, unrelenting humanity.
"Seldom before, surely, have the often erotic ideas of Hofmannsthal's
libretto been so explicitly delineated or its tragic grandeur so movingly
realised. [...] Leonie Rysanek, in her first and possibly only Elektra,
surmounted the score's superhuman demands with an interpretive achievement
that crowns her career of more than 30 years. [...] As a whole, the film
showed that opera on television can be a great experience..." (Daily
Telegraph, 4 May 1985)
"Besides being an important historical document of some great opera
talents, Götz Friedrich's film adaptation of Richard Strauss' 'Elektra' is
unusually good television. This Freudian interpretation of the ancient
Greek saga is steeped in guilt, murder, incest and revenge" (USA Today,
4 November 1986)
"This is a powerfully moving Elektra, many of its distinctive images as
memorably vivid as they are harsh. The performances, on the recording and
on the set, are really quite extraordinary. Miss Rysanek, in particular, is
impressive in what must have been trying circumstances." (The New York
Times, 11 April 1986)

Composer: Richard Strauss
Title: Elektra
Conductor: Karl Böhm
Staged By: Götz Friedrich
Soloist: Leonie Rysanek, Astrid Varnay, Catarina Ligendza, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Hans Beirer, Kurt Böhme, Josef Greindl
Set: Josef Svoboda
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
Chorus: Chor der Wiener Staatsoper
Video Director: Götz Friedrich
Genre: Opera
Length: 119 minutes
Cat.No.: A05001698
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