Elektra

Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)

Information on the piece

Tragedy in one act
Poem by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
First performance on 25th January, 1909 at Dresden
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 3rd November, 2007

recommended from 15 years on

1 h 45 mins / 1 interval

In German with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

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About the performance

In a courtyard of the Mycenaean palace servant girls speak disparagingly about Elektra. Elektra has not got over the murder of her father, Agamemnon, and the idea of revenge dominates her thoughts. Only one of the maidservants shows sympathy for her and is punished as a result. Elektra is yearning for the moment when vengeance will be hers and fully believes that it will come about by the actions of her brother, Orest, who was brought up in a distant region. Her sister, Chrysothemis, finds Elektra’s existence hard to bear and attempts to protect her from their mother, who has evil intentions. Chrysothemis wants to leave that awful place along with her sister so that they can live in freedom. Their mother Clytemnestra, who has been plagued by nightmares since she killed her husband, asks her daughter Elektra for help and while their conversation lasts it seems as if the two women might be reconciled. But Elektra’s hatred flares up again when Clytemnestra lies to her daughter over the whereabouts of her son, Orest. Elektra replies ambiguously to Clytemnestra’s question about the remedy for her anguish and fear, telling her mother that once the proper animal has been sacrificed under the axe her bad dreams will cease. Two strangers arrive and report the death of Orest. Elektra expresses her desire to ally with Chrysothemis in committing the deed, but her sister cannot contemplate such a thing. Determined to avenge herself, Elektra resolves: “Fine, then, I’ll do it alone!” One of the strangers moves closer to Elektra; shaken at the sight of her physical and emotional state, he allows her to see who he is: Orest. He exits to do the deed and presently Clytemnestra’s screams can be heard as she dies. Whereupon Elektra lures Aegisthus into the palace and he is killed by Orest as well. Agamemnon has been avenged. Nonetheless, Elektra stays in the palace feeling no sense of relief; she dances herself to death.

“Despite the scale of the score, ELEKTRA is very much a chamber drama. Rather than creating a series of gruesome images for the stage, I’m interested in rendering palpable the state of horror vacui in which people exist. The lines separating passion and obsession are dangerously blurred and we see this everyday in the news and in our daily lives. The thing about Elektra that moves me is her inability to grieve. She refuses to grieve and has constructed an existence that rules out the possibility of finding closure after loss. Deep, existential feelings such as anguish require a channel of expression. People who can grieve do not feel compelled to hate. ELEKTRA’s impact lies in its revelation of the sheer scale that behavioural patterns can take on when these patterns cannot be called into question. Chrysothemis can see a way to break the spiral of violence but she’s unable to sway her sister and liberate her from the mental vice grip that she’s in. While Elektra ends up riven emotionally in a reflection of her desolate inner world, with her personality floundering in a pandemonium of escalating emotions, only Chrysothemis is left, unable to escape a palace full of ghosts, the sole surviving member of the clan…” (Kirsten Harms, 2007)

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Newsletter

28
NOV

On 1 December, it's that time again. Our already traditional Advent calendar welcomes you with free admission. Members of the Deutsche Oper Berlin ensembles look forward to shortening the days until Christmas Eve with personalised musical programmes in which you will hear Christmas classics as well as absolute rarities, perhaps never heard before. Just come by and experience our artists up close.

Our Advent Foyer Programme
Enjoy our chamber concerts from Monday to Friday, from 5.00 p.m. to approx. 5.25 p.m., in the rank foyer on the right. Should there be any deviations in the venue or time, you will find a note in the overview. Admission is free.


1 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Dietmar Schwarz reads "The Snow Queen"

2 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
The Little Chorus of the Children's Chorus sings Christmas carols

5 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Old Russian Romances with Maria Motolygina

6 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
Father Christmas comes to visit - together with Elisa Verzier

7 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
"Ding Dong! Merrily on High" - A concert with the VoiceChangers

8 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Chamber music with members of the orchestra

9 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Beyond the Snow Queen" - Songs by Samuel Penderbayne and others
with Alexandra Ionis, Attilio Glaser and Henriette Zahn

12 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Songs and Arias with Sua Jo and Kyle Miller

13 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Daniel Nicholson sings and presents

14 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Ralph Vaughan Williams' "The House of Life"
with Dean Murphy and Elda Laro

15 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Four Hands" - Piano Music
with John Parr and Christopher White

16 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
South American Songs with Jorge Puerta

19 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
English and Polish Songs
with Maire Therese Carmack, Artur Garbas and Manon Gerhardt

20 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Christmas Carols for Two Tenors”
with Kieran Carrel and Thomas Cilluffo

21 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet Foyer
Christmas caroling together with the brass band

22 December 2022 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"L'ange et l'enfant" - On the occasion of César Franck's 200th birthday
with Andrea Schwarzbach and Christian Zacker

23 December 2022 | 4.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Brahms songs with Arianna Manganello
Please note the earlier start: 4.00 p.m.


All further information in the respective daily door on our homepage

Raffles at the weekends
Because an Advent calendar is of course also filled at weekends and on Christmas Eve, you will find online raffles on our homepage on Saturdays and Sundays as well as on 24 December. We would like to take this opportunity to thank cooperation partners such as NAXOS and the Yorck cinema group.