Strauss: Elektra - Borkh, Klose, Kupper, Frantz; Schröder. Frankfurt, 1953. Bonus: Salome Exc with Borkh, Klose & Suthaus
Listen to a Sample:
Conventional wisdom dictates that Elektra is a role that a dramatic soprano does not attempt until she is nearing 50 and either has enough technical experience to get herself through the role, or she sees the end of her career approaching and is content with cashing out her vocal chips early. Inge Borkh went against convention by virtually owning this part in the 50s and 60s even when she was in her 30s. The result is an Elektra that conveys single-minded vengeance without ever losing sight of the fact that she is a princess. Borkh’s youthful timbre is particularly welcome during her interactions with Margarete Klose’s Klytämnestra. Klose brings a maternal pathos to the role, which, despite her horrific crime, gives the character a tragic quality that lends itself nicely to the moral ambiguity of the opera. Ferdinand Frantz is excellent as Orest. And keep an ear peeled for a young Christa Ludwig as the first maid. The sound is very good. I have included the last 30 minutes from a performance of Salome from the same year featuring Borkh and Klose as well as the Herod of Ludwig Suthaus. The sound of the excerpt is not ideal, but it is interesting to hear it after the Elektra.