Many thanks to Trottar for his generosity
If ever there was a dysfunctional family, it was the one in this opera, based on a Greek tragedy but deeply imbued with the ideas of Sigmund Freud. The mother Clytemnestra (mezzo-soprano Regina Resnik) and her lover Aegisthus (tenor Gerhard Stolze) have murdered the father, Agamemnon, on his triumphant return from the Trojan War. They have an excuse: Agamemnon gave his daughter Iphigenia for a human sacrifice. Another daughter, Elektra (soprano Birgit Nilsson), burns for revenge, but as a woman in a patriarchal society, she must use her brother Orestes (baritone Tom Krause) to execute her plan. Nilsson’s portrayal is a high point of her career, and the whole brilliant production matches her performance. This is not easy listening, but it puts us in touch with dark realities dangerous to ignore, and the music (after you get used to it, which may take a while) has great power. –Joe McLellan
Composer: Richard Strauss
Performer: Birgit Nilsson, Regine Resnik, Marie Collier, Tom Krause
Orchestra: Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
Number of discs: 2
DR-Analysis: DR 15
Size: 2.26 GB
Sir Georg Solti, Birgit Nilsson, Marie Collier, Regina Resnik, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra gives an elektrifying performance of Elektra. The Vienna Philharmonic is in superlative form – all the details of the score are beautifully captured by John Culshaw’s recording. Sir Georg Solti directs a powerful reading.
Marie Collier’s Chrysothemis soars above the dense orchestration with ease sounding appropriately nervous as Elektra’s weak-minded sister. Her nervous characterization is very apt and provides a beautiful contrast against Birgit Nilsson’s headstrong Elektra. Marie Collier was a replacement for Leonie Rysanek who disliked the recording studio. The recording is in superb stereo sound that puts even today’s digital engineers to shame!!! (I think of disgust at how many times these ‘digital’ engineers mess up an otherwise wonderful performance bacause they didn’t know how to balance the sound and place the microphones).
Anyway, back to this recording. Regina Resnik, who was on the cast in December 1965, Vienna (with Birgit Nilsson and Leonie Rysanek), is the quintessential Klytamnestra. Her description of her nightmares is spine-chilling. Her characterization is just incredible and this reflects her extensive stage experience in the role.
Finally and most importantly, the biggest star of this performance – Birgit Nilsson – greatest Turandot, greatest Isolde, greatest Brunnhilde and greatest Elektra!! Birgit Nilsson is simple spectacular in this enormously difficult role of Elektra.
She sings the role with astonishing ease, the role poses simply no problem for her. She has to hit the high B flats, high B’s and high C’s like a zillion times all fortissimo and she hurdles over all of them like nobody’s business.
While other sopranos screech and wobble at the top, her tone is ABSOLUTELY and INHUMANLY steady!! Her control over her voice is mind-boggling. And her voice penetrates the thick orchestration like a sharp laser beam. Her Elektra is an astounding performance, her voice like waves of a gigantic tsunami pummeling you. Yet she is able to give some nice floated and FULLY SUPPORTED piannisimo in the recognition scene.
Birgit Nilsson’s Elektra is unique and impossible to ‘copy’. This is a performance to hear and to marvel at. It is a spell-binding performance.
This is, without doubt, a first choice for any newcomer to Elektra. It is one of those incredible performances (like Klemperer’s Fidelio and Giulini’s Don Giovanni) that has to be on every opera lover’s shelf.
Analyzed folder: /96k Richard Strauss – Elektra – Nilsson, Resnik, Solti
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR15 -0.74 dB -20.47 dB A Part 1 – Wo Bleibt Elektra.aif
DR15 -1.04 dB -21.88 dB B Part 2 – Was Willst Du.aif
DR14 -0.44 dB -20.42 dB C Part 3 – Orest Is Tot.aif
DR15 -0.71 dB -20.30 dB D Part 4 – Nein, Du Sollst Mich Nicht Umarmen.aif
Number of files: 4
Official DR value: DR15
- RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
- TT: Vintage (1982) Yamaha PX-3
Cartridge: Sumiko Black Bird
- Cartridge: ZYX 50R Bloom
- Phono amp: Audio Research SP15 own tube phono section
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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