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18.45: Pre-concert talk by Gunnar Danbolt

The character of Elektra, as imagined by Sophocles, is one of the most magnetic and fascinating in all fiction. Hell bent on vengeance after the death of her father, the Elektra of Sophocles’s drama grows increasingly deranged, her pathological desires and implacable temper putting her on a path to absolute destruction, axe in hand. In 1903, Richard Strauss saw Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s stage adaptation of the story in Berlin. He immediately knew he wanted to turn it into an opera.

The music that Strauss used to carry Hoffmannsthal’s specially re-adapted words has been compated to ‘the colour of blood.’ Elektra is Strauss’s most searing operatic score, a work that almost literally bursts with drama and action, assaulting the senses to utterly thrilling effect and asking everything of a writhing, spitting and soaring symphony orchestra.

For this performance we are particularly pleased to welcome to Bergen Kirill Petrenko, Chief Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker and formerly of the Bavarian State Opera, who will conduct a cast lead by the great Swedish dramatic soprano Iréne Theorin, one of the finest Elektra’s of our time.

Elektra is performed with generous support from Trond Mohn and Grieg Foundation.

Photo above: Soprano Iréne Theorin sings the title role Elektra. Photo: Chris Gloag