- Elektra, opera, Op. 58 (TrV 223)
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Valery Gergiev is an ideal interpreter for "Elektra"; he's a master at whipping up an orchestral frenzy and Strauss' often spiky score gives him the opportunity, in this recording taken from live 2010 concerts, to draw a ferocious, virtuosic performance from the London Symphony Orchestra, which plays with abandon and dazzling precision. In spite of the exceptional orchestral playing, the recording isn't an unqualified success. The sound of the super audio hybrid CD is clear and clean, with good definition of the opera's dense textures, but it's recorded at such a low level that the volume needs to be cranked up considerably for the music to make its maximum impact. The vocal performances are not entirely consistent. The weakest link is Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet in the title role. Her singing has plenty of energy, but she doesn't always sound at ease and her voice doesn't have the necessary weight and substance to cut effortlessly through the orchestration. The role is certainly not a showcase for vocal subtlety, but Charbonnet's pushing inevitably limits her expressive range. Her voice loosens up as the performance progresses, though, and from the arrival of Orest forward, her portrayal is more persuasive. The standouts in the cast are Felicity Palmer and Matthias Goerne, who are both terrific. Palmer is powerfully convincing and she has all the vocal and theatrical resources to bring Klytämnestra to chilling, haunted life. It's a vivid and truly memorable performance. As Orest, Goerne sings with heroic strength and suppleness and resonance. He generally devotes himself almost entirely to song recitals, but his richly textured performance makes a compelling case for him to explore more of the operatic repertoire. Angela Denoke makes a strong impression as Chrysothemis. She has lots of power that she can deploy without sounding forced and she is a skilled singing actress, creating drama with the sensitivity of her phrasing. Ian Storey is vocally adequate as Aegisth, but fails to make much of the role. Fans of the opera are likely to want to hear the recording for Gergiev's propulsive reading and for Palmer's and Goerne's outstanding performances.
|Label:||Lso Live Uk|